Never Seen One Before

This afternoon when I got up for work, I sat by the window in our living room with my cup of coffee. On the baseball field behind our house, two teams were playing one of the final games of the season. Ella was sitting on my lap, and Sam was on the floor with Andrew.

Suddenly, I saw a bird that I had never seen before land on one of our outdoor chairs. I stared at it for a minute because I though it was the weirdest looking robin I had ever seen. Only it wasn’t a robin. It had a red chest like a robin, but it was blue!

I called Sam over so she could see it too, but it flew away before she got a look at it. All the way to work, I felt like I must have seen it wrong. Was it really blue? Yes. I was sure it had to be. Thank you Google – I wasn’t seeing things.

Come to find out, I saw my first ever Male Eastern Blue Bird. Google says that they “are vivid, deep blue above and rusty or brick-red on the throat and breast.” When I saw a picture, it confirmed that it was the bird I saw.

Sam and I have talked about getting a bird feeder to put near the back of the house. I think the kids would love watching them. All those birds will certainly drive our cat crazy, too. Oh, and we’d have to make sure it was squirrel proof. We have plenty of those chubby critters hanging around. (I wonder if I have told my squirrel story on here before… I may have to check the archives!)

When I think about birds, two things come immediately to mind: (1) Wallace Wimple from the old Fibber McGee and Molly radio show. (He sounded like the cartoon character Droopy and often spoke of his Bird Book) and (2) Monty Python’s Book Shop sketch. The first photo above and the next one are totally taken from the sketch.

If you have never heard it before, you have to listen to it. It is one of those very well written and very funny comedy sketches. John Cleese is brilliant in it and it was one of his favorite sketches.

Here it here:

Post Weekend Update & Trivia

Before I get into the events of the weekend, I thought I’d throw a funny Jeopardy question your way. The answer, which will be easy for those who follow this blog, will appear at the end of this post.

Saturday morning was nice. The entire family spent the morning together. At one point, Sam, the kids and I were all snuggled up on the couch watching TV. I can’t even begin to tell you how nice that was.

There was plenty of outdoor playing and walks around the neighborhood.

Sunday, Sam was sleeping and it was, what Ella calls, a “Ella, Bubby, Daddy Day.” I had to drive Sam’s brother to his football practice and then I planned on taking the kids to the park for a picnic. On the way, my eye caught a Dairy Queen with outdoor seating. So instead, we stopped there!

By Ella’s reaction, I think it was a good choice!

After our picnic lunch, we went to a little park that is enclosed. The kids could run everywhere and play on anything. I played with them and actually got a minute or two to just sit back and enjoy watching them play.

Funniest line of the weekend – and also one of those things you never thought you would say out loud: (Sam to Andrew) “Bubby, don’t put the Playdoh in your nose!”

Boy, does he keep us on our toes! While we were out in the back yard the other day, he picked up one of the dandelions – not the yellow ones, the white ones – and stuck it in his mouth. All those things were on his tongue and I am really surprised he didn’t throw up! Urgh, just thinking about it makes me nauseous!

Two of my favorite pictures from the weekend

First, Ella looking like a movie star! Priceless

Second, Andrew wearing what his sister picked out for him to wear…. one of her dresses!


Project Update

I took advantage of the kids falling asleep early Sunday night and figured I would prime and paint the nook I was working on.

This is what it looked it before:

We used OSB board this time, and after painting I wish I had used just regular shiplap. It still looks good. It has a rustic look to it, I think. We need to get a cushion for the bench seat and a decorative throw pillow to go on that, but it is painted and coat hooks are in place.

The angle at which I took this picture makes the hook on the left wall look higher than the others, but they are all on the same line, believe it or not!

The kids seem to think that this is a new play area now, or at least a spot for photo ops.

I’m so glad to have this project 98% finished. I have a few touch ups to do, but it is mostly done. I also love having the baskets under the bench.

All in all a very productive and enjoyable weekend!

Your trivia/Jeopardy answer? Of course, you knew it was …

The Three Stooges! A 1936 classic!

A Happy Weekend

Tuesdays mean back to work for me. Technically, Mondays are still part of my “weekend.” Yesterday, I wrote about the amazing birthday I had Monday, but wanted to share a few other highlights from the past couple days.

Sunday was Mother’s Day. Sadly, Sam had to work that night. That didn’t stop us from celebrating. The kids made sure to spoil mommy with a card and cake.

We also made sure she had plenty of flowers to brighten her day.

We got her a Grey’s Anatomy sweatshirt that she wanted and of course, she got the porch rocker we built. Before she left for work, I was able to snap one of the best photos of her and the kids!

Today, the weather in Michigan was perfect. I wanted to go to Menard’s to pick up the wood that I need to rebuild part of the playscape in the back. However, because it was so nice, I took the kids up to the park to play first. They had a blast!

For Andrew, there were so many things to play with. Slides, rocks, and even tic tac toe.

Ella just loved running around and playing with the other little girl who was there, too.

Every once in a while, they stop at just the right time for perfect pictures.

After the park, I ran up and got the wood. I also got a couple shepherd’s hooks and two hanging flower baskets for the front of the house. On the way home, I stopped and got the kids lunch and we had a picnic on the porch before naptime.

Along with the fun of my birthday, this weekend was just loaded with wonderful memories! I hope your weekend was just as happy!

Another year passes …

Today I finished my 53rd trip around the sun. Birthdays stopped being special to me a long time ago. They are just another day. However, I will tell you that today was a birthday I won’t soon forget. Let me tell you why …

Ella has been talking about my birthday for months. She’s known that mine was coming up and eventually the “next” one. So she told Sam that she was going to get all the stuff for my “party.”

So her and Sam went to the store to order my cake. She told the woman that she was positive that I loved princesses, so this was the cake they brought home:

Ella sang Happy Birthday loud and proud and both kids helped me blow out my candles.

Yes, I did wear the tiara and hold the scepter after cutting the cake.

Sam and the kids got me the coolest card and a book I have had on my Amazon wishlist for some time. Once I get through the library books I have, I will be diving into this one.

They also got me an amazing shirt. The card and shirt go together as they are both from Bluey, the cartoon I just love! Perhaps mom was trying for a Bluey theme, but the princess won out!

We even had princess plates!!

If you are wondering about the tiara and scepter – don’t worry, there is a princess at our house making good use of them!

I also heard from my dad first thing this morning. He got a chuckle out of my cake. My oldest son called me this morning too. My middle son texted on his way home from the bus stop to send birthday wishes. There were countless text messages and birthday wishes on Facebook, too.

As much as I hate counting the years (and still claim to be 39 every year like Jack Benny) it is nice to know that so many folks will take a brief moment out of their day to send a birthday greeting. It’s almost overwhelming, but it is a reminder of just how blessed I am.

Much Needed Time

Yesterday I was supposed to work. When I woke up, I saw a text from work saying that we were down patients and it was my turn to stay home. There was a staff meeting that I had to call in and be a part of, but after that, it was all family time! The downside is that I lose hours. The upside is that I got some MUCH NEEDED time with the entire family.

The minute I hung up from our meeting, we piled the kids in the car and drove to the local ice cream place. It’s a few miles further than Dairy Queen, but worth it! On the way, Ella told us she wanted “pink” ice cream with sprinkles. We asked Andrew is he wanted blue ice cream and he said yes. When we asked about sprinkles, he said no.

We got there just before a bunch of people lined up behind us. Sam took the kids and grabbed a table for us to sit at. One by one, the worker passed me each of our items. Ella was happy as a clam eating her sprinkles. Andrew ate some of his Blue Moon ice cream, but eventually wanted to eat from mommy’s cone. This led to Ella wanting to “try” mine, and by the end of the visit, Sam and I lost our ice cream!

“I like mint ice cream, Daddy!” I do, too, kiddo!

I just love this picture of Sam and Andrew. He is a real “mama’s boy!” They have such a special bond.

After we were done, we went home and started the bedtime routine. It was already long after their normal bed time, and because they were outside a lot earlier in the day, they both fell asleep almost immediately.

Sam and I actually got to have some time to ourselves last night. Because of our work schedules, we don’t get much quality time with just the two of us. It was so nice to have that last night. As we sat in bed talking, Sam said she could go for Taco Bell. This made me chuckle, but it also reminded me of those nights before our kids arrived where this would be a very common thing to say. Without hesitation, I got out of pajamas, back into my clothes and drove to Taco Bell to grab us each a Nacho Bell Grande!

The two of us sat in bed for a while, each with our late night snack, laughing and talking. It was something that both of us really needed.

Our plans for today were altered a bit, but in a good way. Sam had a bunch of clothes she wanted to take to the resale shop. She was going to take the kids to her mom’s house so that I could paint the nook we build recently. At the last minute, I decided that I wanted to go with her. We dropped the kids off, and we drove up the resale shop about 30 minutes from us.

We had decided to have lunch together while they sorted through all the clothes. We were going to grab Panera, but Sam noticed a steakhouse across the street, so we went there instead. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch together and then went and walked around Target. We didn’t intend on buying anything, but we saw some cute stuff for the kids and ended up buying more than we needed to.

Once the resale shop called to tell us they were ready for us, we stopped there and loaded up the items that they didn’t take, and drove home. Sam dropped me off so I could nap before work and went to get the kids.

I was awakened by my daughter who was very excited to show me all the “prizes” we bought for her at the store. I could have used a few more minutes of sleep, but waking up to her smile was worth losing a few winks.

I may have to start scheduling days off. The last 24 hours really refilled my tank. It reminded me of what life should be like. It reminded me of just how important it is to share that special time with family. It reminded me of how important one on one time is with my wife. Those moments are few and far between and that needs to change!

Early Gift For Mommy

When Sam got home from work today, we packed up the kids and took a drive to Lowe’s. The purpose of the trip was to get a teeter totter for the swing set/playscape in the back yard. Once we were there, we asked around and found out that the only way to get pieces for swing sets was to order them online. There was nothing in the store.

Sam noticed some patio furniture cushions and wanted to look at them for some chairs we have. It was then that she saw a beautiful rocking chair. I had bought two rockers for our porch a few years ago, but they were poorly made and just didn’t hold up. As we were looking at the chairs, Sam noticed that they had a bench rocker. After discussing things, we decided that we were going to get that for our side porch.

I had every intention of getting in the car and saying “Well, Happy Mother’s Day!” to Sam. But on the way out to the car, Ella asked her, “Is this your Mommy’s Day present, Mommy?” She said, “I suppose it is!”

Just like your typical man, as soon as we got home, I pulled the box out of the van, placed it on the porch and grabbed my tools! I was going to get this thing together today! Of course, I didn’t stop to think that Sam had worked all night and wanted to go to bed. She was in the house getting lunch together while I was glancing over the instructions.

It didn’t really take too long to put together, especially when I had help!

Andrew was all about trying to help me out. He wants to help SO bad. He kept bringing me pieces I didn’t need yet and pulling sockets from my socket wrench box. I look forward to the day when I can actually sit and build something with him and have him understand what we are doing.

In the end, the rocker came out great and really is a nice addition to the porch.

As I finished it up, mom went in the house to get some sleep. She should have been the first one to sit on it, but of course, that wasn’t the case.

Looks like this bench is like that cereal, “Kid tested, mother approved!”

Happy early Mother’s Day, Babe. I look forward to being able to rock with you on this over the summer. They even have a beer I can bring …

I Should Have Known

Yesterday morning when I came home from work, the family shared some donuts I picked up from a local shop.  It has sort of become a Saturday morning treat.

Sam may have caught a cold and she wasn’t feeling well yesterday.  I told her to lie down and I would take the kids outside with me.

I have been meaning to tear the trampoline apart for a while and figured the weather was nice enough to do it while the kids played.

They were on the playscape, in the sandbox, and playing with various things in the yard while I worked.  They were always in my line of site. 

Occasionally, Ella would walk in the house.  I assumed she was going in to get a drink or use the bathroom.  The windows were open and I had to keep asking her to come back outside.  I told her that I was almost done and we could go back in after that.  She probably went in and came back out 6 times.

When I got the last of the big pieces apart, I told them we could go in for lunch.  They went into the living room, where one of their shows was already on and I went and made lunch. 

It was only when I walked into the living room to put their lunches on the table that I realized the reasons for Ella’s trips inside.  When I looked to my right, there was a bunch of sand from the sandbox all over the floor and carpet.  She had been taking it in one cup at a time! 

“Can I bring the sandbox in the house, Daddy?”


I vacuumed, but I have a feeling there will be sand there for a few weeks…..

May 4, 2023

Star Wars Day

My very funny friend, Dobie Maxwell, says – Today is ‘Star Wars’ day – “May the 4th be with you.” Tomorrow is Alcoholics or ‘Bar Wars’ Day – “May the 5th be with you.”

Starting the blog with a laugh!

Thank You!

Yesterday’s blog was on kind of a serious topic. I wanted to take a minute to thank those of you who left supportive and positive comments, as well as those who emailed my privately. I really do appreciate you.

I have a telemedicine visit with my doc today to discuss this further. I may have to do a medical release so that my doc and therapist can discuss things together and formulate a plan. I will keep you posted.


I guess I am a poor planner. I missed National Library Week and National Librarian’s Day last month. I had mentioned in a past post that my brother, who works as a librarian, will be writing a guest blog soon. If I had looked ahead, I could have had that blog ready to tie in to one of those events. Whoops. It is coming though.

Two Pictures

My daughter came into the living room the other day wearing a pink dress and one of my baseball hats. All I could think of was A League of Their Own –

Andrew loves to help clean. He helps pick up the toys, load the dishwasher and is obsessed with the vacuum. Sam found one that actually works online. It plays some really annoying music at times, but it is fun to watch him vacuum with us.

Have a great Star Wars Day!!

Heading into the Weekend

Ah, Saturday! A day of rest and relaxation, right? The weekend is here and there is nothing to do, right? Well, not for me. It’s gonna be a pretty busy weekend.

This week was full of events for our family. Big changes and some stress (no need to talk about my wallet anymore!).

The biggest news was the addition of our dog, Maizy. If you missed that blog – here it is:

I’m happy to say that she is fitting in quite well. She’s making the place her own, and getting up on the furniture …

She loves to cuddle up to us. She and Sam seem to be getting along nicely.

And Ella loves that Maizy will sleep in her room with her at “quiet time”.

Andrew just gets really excited to be around her. Especially when we’re outside. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure who is harder to get to come in – Maizy or Andrew.

Maizy loves to run around in the yard. She especially loves to play fetch with a ball.

She waits with baited breath for me to chuck it out in the backyard.

I don’t mind being outside with her. The baseball team has been outside practicing and getting ready for the season. One of the best things about our backyard is the free admission to watch a good game –

Of course, Maizy LOVES when the kids are eating. There is NO shortage of food that falls on the floor, unless it is peanut butter. That peanut butter pretty much gets worn by the kids….

Maizy became a member of our family from the onset. What a blessing she is to our home.

The rest of the weekend is loaded with some projects. I’m hoping to finish painting the nook we built and then we’re grabbing one of those playscapes from a friend of Sam’s and moving it to our yard. In between all of that, we’ve got people coming to give us estimates on what a fence is going to cost. Busy Busy!!

Have a great weekend!!

We’ve Gone to the Dogs!

We’ve talked about getting a dog for some time. Sam has always wanted a dog, but there were so many things that we needed to do first. We don’t have a fully fenced in yard, for example. We also were concerned with how the dog would react to the kids – not to mention our cat. We always knew that at some point, we’d be getting a dog. However, I don’t think either one of us thought it would be … well, today!

Here’s the scoop. Yesterday before Sam left for work, her sister texted. She asked if we would be interested in a four year old lab who is good with kids. The story behind this is that her friend’s daughter had diabetes and epilepsy. It was recommended that they get her a service dog. I guess the dogs didn’t really get along. So her owner wanted her to have a loving home.

Her owner said that if things don’t work out, she will gladly take her back and try to find a home for her. They obviously love this dog a lot. I think we both figured that it would be a trial run, but we knew pretty quickly that this will be her new home.

This is Maizy. Coincidentally, Maizey is also our cat’s name. She made herself at home after sniffing around a lot. The kids were MORE than excited to have a “puppy friend” of their own!

I guess by the look on my face, I was pretty excited, too.

The one thing I worry about is that when the kids are at my mother in law’s, they can lay on top of their golden retriever. They climb all over her and she takes every bit of it. I’m not sure Maizy will be as happy about it. So we have to tell the kids to be very careful with her and to use nice hands.

After she got used to all of us, we piled into the van and headed to PetSmart. We had to get food, food and water dishes, a lead for her to run around in the backyard until the fence goes in, and a pet bed. It was an expensive trip, but we expected that.

She is making herself at home and at one point curled up in front of me and fell asleep … and so did my leg!

The only one who is still not too sure about our newest family member is Maizey our cat. That hasn’t stopped her from sneaking up on her while she is asleep to check her out and make sure she is ok …

I laughed when I told Sam, “Well, one thing is for sure. We won’t have to worry about cleaning up food on the floor anymore ….”

We are all looking forward to having our new puppy friend living at our house!