Holiday “Letters”

Today’s blog comes from a Daily Writing Prompt.  I thought this was a fun idea.  Some of my answers came immediately, while others I had to think a little bit.  Here is the prompt:  “Make an alphabetized list of the 26 best things about the holiday season, with one item for each letter.  Choose your favorite thing and write a short paragraph about why you love it.”

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“A”

A Christmas Carol.

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Every year since junior high school I have read this amazing tale of Ebenezer Scrooge’s transformation by Charles Dickens.  I also listen to Patrick Stewart’s wonderful audio performance, as well as watch the many movie versions.  No matter how many times I hear this story, it always makes me happy.

“B”

Blessings.

The holidays are a time where we reflect on what we are thankful for, and a time for counting our blessings.  In years past, I suffered from severe depression and often never really was conscious of those things.  With the changes in my life, I am much more aware of how blessed I am.  I have so many things to be thankful for and I am truly blessed in more ways than I can count!

“C”

Christmas Cookies.

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To borrow a phrase from Sesame Street – “C is for Cookie.”  Every year as kids, my brother and I would wait for my grandma to ship us a huge tin can of cookies!  She would make Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal, Sugar, Ice Box, and so many more.  The cookies pictured above are called Pizzelle cookies.  My grandma always made them at Christmas!  My brother still has her pizzelle maker.  Today, I still make the Chocolate Chips from a recipe she had in a metal index card box!

“D”

Dante’ & Dimitri

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My sons.  Sharing the holidays with them means so much to me.  I LOVE watching their excitement as they open their presents.  I love spending time with them, whether it is watching TV, playing a video or board game, or just having a heart to heart talk.  They continue to grow into fine young men, and I am proud to be their father.

“E”

Eggnog

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I LOVE eggnog!  My grandmother always had it for us at Christmas.  There used to be an eggnog mix that she would buy, but I can’t find it anywhere anymore.  My brother and I used to drink this like water!  I recently discovered a “custard” eggnog that was really good, too!  All things eggnog – I like:  McDonald’s Eggnog Shakes, Starbucks Eggnog Latte’s, and even the alcoholic eggnog!  There was a place in Frankenmuth that had a drink called the “dirty elf” – it was eggnog with a shot of Fireball whiskey in it – SO good!

“F”

Family and Friends.

What would the holidays be with out them?!  When I look back on holidays of the past, they are special because of the friends and family who were present!  I look forward to the holidays each year because it means special times with these special people in my life.

“G”

Garland.

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When I think about Christmas, I always think about garland!  My mom used to string it on the tree.  She’d hang it on walls, wrap it around things, hang Christmas Cards from it – it was everywhere!  We had gold and silver garland, thick and thin garland, and even garland with snowflakes on it.  I don’t use it today, because I know our cats will just eat it.

“H”

Holiday Music.

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I have blogged about this enough that you had to see this coming!  I love Christmas music.  There are so many wonderful memories connected to specific holiday songs.  While there are some songs that bring tears to my eyes, the majority of them bring me so much happiness.

“I”

Italian Food.

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EVERY Christmas Eve – my grandma made ravioli.  That was part of our tradition.  We also had breaded steak with ammoglio (moy-gyoo) sauce.  She always made an Italian feast.  I have tried to keep this tradition going, even though my sauce is no where close to being as good as hers.

“J”

Jingle Bells.

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This is two-fold.  First, the sound of jingle bells goes hand in hand with the holidays.  To me, there is something about hearing those bells that makes it feel like Christmas.  Second, it is one of those holiday songs that I love.  It’s probably THE universal Christmas song.  My favorite versions are done by Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Doc Severinsen & The Tonight Show Band, The Glenn Miller Orchestra, and SO many other versions!

“K”

Kris Kringle.

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Also known as Santa Claus.  He’s the subject of many Christmas songs.  Millions of children sit on his lap and convey their Christmas list to him.  In one night, he delivers millions of toys to good little girls and boys!

“L”

Lights.

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I love Christmas lights.  When I first got my driver’s license I would pop a cassette tape of Christmas music in and I would drive around looking at the lights.  I remember driving around Jefferson Avenue where all these huge mansions were.  They would have their lights done by professionals and they were just amazing.  Walking through Wild Lights at the Detroit Zoo, or taking the Christmas train at Crossroads Village to see lights is also a treat!  I love the way they look and enjoy them more and more every year.

“M”

Mail.

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In a world where most communication is done by phone, e-mail, or text messages, I really enjoy getting Christmas cards in the mail.  I also love getting the “year in review” letters in them.  I can never understand why people diss these letters, because I love to read about what my friends and family have done over the past year.  I love when they include pictures from the past year, too.  I also love family photo Christmas cards.  I used to send them every year.  Sam and I were just talking about how we need to get better at sending them.

“N”

Nostalgia.

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No surprise here, especially since 95% of this blog is about nostalgia!  When the holidays come around, I get VERY nostalgic.  I think of my grandparents, my mother, and remember the good times we shared.  I remember past gifts.  I remember past relationships.  I remember good times and bad times.  There are many memories connected with the holidays for me.

“O”

Ornaments.

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One thing I love about Christmas ornaments is that when you put up your tree, as you unwrap each ornament, it brings back a memory.  Every year, Sam and I go to Bronner’s in Frankenmuth and get an ornament that signifies an even from the past year.  This year’s ornament is obviously about us expecting our baby.  We have an ornament from when we got married and when we got engaged.  I have a few ornaments that I brought with me when I moved in with Sam.  One of those ornaments is from 1977!  It was an ornament that we all got when we were in Catechism in 2nd grade.  It is an ornament of the baby Jesus.  It is the oldest ornament I have.

“P”

Presents.

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When I was a kid, it was all about what presents I was getting.  As an adult, and as a parent, your focus shifts.  It becomes about what special gift you buy for someone else.  What can I get that will make the boys smile?  What is the perfect gift for my wife?  What do I get for my dad, who seems to have everything?  It truly is better to give than to receive, but it is also nice to get something special from someone, too.

“Q”

Quiet.

I know, this seems impossible!  I would agree to a certain extent.  Many holiday gatherings are noisy as hell, but I am speaking of a specific quiet. One of my favorite things is standing outside after a snowfall, just listening to the quiet of the neighborhood.  There were many times I’d be out shoveling the walk, and stop just to enjoy the quiet of a winter day.

“R”

Rudolph

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Sure, I love the Rankin and Bass TV special!  I, however, and talking about the above decoration.  My grandma had these, and so did we!  This decoration was made of melted plastic.  Pinterest calls this a “melted plastic popcorn wall or window hanging decoration”.  There was a Snowman, a Christmas Tree and a Santa in a sleigh decoration, too.  My grandma hung 9 of these reindeer and the Santa in a sleigh on the wall every year!  Man, do I miss seeing this every year!!!

“S”

Snow.

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One of the things I love about living in Michigan is that we see all four seasons.  The holidays without snow are very disappointing to me.  If it is mid to late December and there is no snow, the song White Christmas really hits home.  I NEED to have snow on Christmas!  It is just one of those things that makes the holiday mean more.  I love the beauty of snow on the ground and stuck to the trees … but, yes, I do hate driving in it!

“T”

The Tree.

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You can check out the blog I wrote a week or so ago entitled “Oh Christmas Tree” to read about why this means so much to me.  For now, just know that it is one of the things I LOVE about the holidays.

“U”

Underwear.

I really didn’t have a lot of “U” options.  I don’t like underwear for Christmas, but I put it here because of something I started seeing a few years ago.  I guess you would call it a meme today.  I see it posted on Facebook a lot and it makes me laugh:

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“V”

Vacation.

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Again, a two-fold answer.  (1) Vacation time?  Yes, I do get some time off during the holidays, but nothing real big.  I wish I had the opportunity to actually take a few weeks off around the holidays, but that never is possible for me.  (2) Christmas Vacation Movie?  Who doesn’t love this Christmas film.  There are so many great lines and characters in this film!  Come on – you know any time you pass a house with a gazillion lights on it you call it the “Griswold house”!!

“W”

Wife.

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She makes EVERYTHING in my life special.  The holidays are already a special time for me, but spending them with her make them extra special.  There is not enough space on the internet for me to write about how much she means to me, how much I love her, and how happy she makes me.  I am so lucky to call this beautiful woman my friend, my partner, and my wife.  For Christmas this year, she is giving me the best present ever … she arrives in February.

“X”

X’s and O’s

Ok, it was hard to come up with something beside Xylophone for X!   X’s and O’s are hugs and kisses.  Hugs and kisses from friends and family during the holidays make the season special.

“Y”

Year Without a Santa Claus.

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You should have saw this coming, too!  Last year, many characters made a Christmas blog and this year I wrote an entire blog on it.  I HAVE to watch this every year!  I also have to listen to the Miser Brothers songs in the car during the holidays.

“Z”

Zzzzzzz’s.

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Yet another stretch, but Holiday Zzzzz’s are something I certainly look forward to!  In Twas The Night Before Christmas they talk of a “long winter’s nap”.  In my opinion, any time I can grab a nap over the holidays, it’s a good thing!!!

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That was a fun blog to write!  Now it’s your turn.  What are your “holiday letters”?  I’d love to read them …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thankful Thoughts (updated)

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Happy Thanksgiving! I am sitting on the couch next to my wife after having dinner and watching the Detroit Lions lose another game on National TV! (LOL – I get suckered in actually thinking they MAY win a game!) The Christmas tree is lit, the lights are low, and we are waiting to have some pumpkin pie.

When I worked on the radio, we would often “recycle” bits. We would take something we had done in the past and “re-run” it, often updating it to be current. This blog is a recycling of an earlier Thanksgiving blog, updated for 2019. I have gained many new followers over the past year, all of this will be new to them. For those who have been with me from the beginning, I hope you don’t think I am being lazy. By recycling this, I am reminded of just how blessed I am!

Updated 2019

The truth is, we should be thankful for everything in our lives. One of my favorite Bible verses is I Thessalonians 5: 18 which reads “In everything give thanks”. That means good things and bad things – and that’s sometimes hard to do! Believe me, I know from experience! Well, here goes…my list, in no particular order:

Things I am thankful for

  1. My parents. Let’s face it, without them, I wouldn’t be here. I was blessed with a mother and father who raised me right. They supported decisions (good and bad) and were always there for me. Even though my mom is no longer here, her presence is ever-present. Dad is always around to talk music, old movies, and more. As with most holidays, he was the first call I received this morning. Laughing with him is always something I am thankful for.
  2. My wife. Without her, I wouldn’t be here either. She saved me and I am forever grateful. She came into my life at a very turbulent time – first as a friend, and then as someone much more than that. She made me smile and laugh during a time where there was little or no happiness. She cried with me and was a great support through very dark days. Thanks to her, I have found an unconditional love. I cannot imagine life without her, nor would I want to. She accepts me with all my faults and quirks. She makes me feel special. She makes me fall in love with her more each day. She completes me and I am thankful to have her in my life each and every second of the day.
  3. My baby. This year, I can add the fact that I am thankful for our baby on the way. I am thankful for each and every kick I feel from Sam’s belly. I am thankful for the amazing sounds of her heartbeat when we go to the doctor. How do you describe how you can love someone you’ve never met – I can’t! But I do!
  4. My sons. They could not be more different from each other. They both have their own talents. They remind me so much of my brother and I when we were growing up! They are creative. They are silly. They are loving. They are smart. They make me laugh and drive me crazy! I miss them when they are not with me and I love when we are together. I love to think back and remember the things they did as babies and I love to think about what they will do in the future. They make me proud of all their accomplishments. In a year, they have matured so much! Dante’ will graduate this year, and Dimitri is in middle school. They will continue to be a source of great joy for me!
  5. My brother. Just like my sons, we couldn’t be more different. Growing up, we tormented each other! He has listened to me complain about life. He has offered advice on more than one occasion. He, in my opinion, is the more successful of the two of us! He has written – and published – books! He has made his way up the ladder at his job and is now a “big wig”. I am envious of him. Over the years, we’ve grown closer and are working separately (and together) on a project that will honor our mother. This project will only bring us closer – which I look forward to very much. Some of the stuff I have written for the project has been posted on this blog. There is still work to do, and it is slowly coming together.
  6. My radio job(s). In over 30 years, the friendships I have made with co-workers, clients, and listeners have been very special to me. While there was a whole lot of instability and changes in the business, it was also more fun than I can put into words! Even though I am only doing it part-time now, I still enjoy prepping for a show and sharing stories on the air. I’ll be doing quite a few shows over the next few weeks because of the holidays.
  7. My sleep job. It’s really an amazing thing to help people. So many patients come in to our lab who are struggling with poor sleep, insomnia, apnea, narcolepsy, and other sleep disorders. To be able to offer advice, help them get therapy, and in some cases, save their life, it is pretty satisfying. I am lucky to have some pretty cool co-worker friends, too.
  8. My education. For years, my mother begged me to go to college. She had sadly passed away before I finally enrolled in classes. I am grateful to have had some of the finest instructors and professors to guide me and teach me in my journey. Not only did I gain a degree, but I made many new friendships with classmates and teachers. I wish I could find the time and money to gain further education.
  9. My friends. Napoleon Hill said, “That man is rich indeed who had more friends than enemies…” I am truly a rich man! I am lucky enough to have made many friends throughout my life. Many of them I have known for over 40 years! So many good times! So many good memories! I am thankful for each of them!
  10. My enemies. Yes, my enemies. First of all, they make me more appreciative and thankful for my friends! Second, they actually help me, too. How? Here is a great quote (I wish I knew who said it) “Your enemies evolve you at the core. They force you to defend and endure more than you thought possible.” Yes, my enemies may be full of hatred toward me. They may spread rumors about me. They may discredit me and bash me, but I am stronger because of their ignorance and loathing. Over the last year, I have gained lots of strength!
  11. My faith. It may not be important to you, but it is to me. I am thankful for God, His Word, His Son, and all that He has done for me. I am thankful for His unconditional love for me.
  12. Modern Medicine. We are blessed to live in a time where medical advances are curing diseases and saving lives! While there is a long way to go, and there are still many diseases that need a cure – we continue to make progress. I am thankful for the great minds who strive to find the answers, treatments, and cures. I hope to see cures for things like cancer in my lifetime.
  13. Coffee. I was 12 when my grandpa introduced coffee to me (it was probably more cream and sugar than coffee, but I liked it.) Coffee has helped me through many overnight shifts on the radio, many 12 hour shifts in the sleep lab, and is just perfect to drink on a chilly autumn morning. I am also thankful for some of the wonderful flavors. Michigan Cherry, Vanilla Hazelnut, and Cinnamon Holiday Blend are among my favorites.
  14. My country. I am thankful to live in the United States of America. I am thankful that we live in a country that allows us many freedoms. While I have not visited every state in the union, I can tell you that on a recent road trip, I was in awe of the beauty that I witnessed while driving. I am thankful and proud to be an American!
  15. Cameras/Photographs/Videos. How many precious moments and memories have been captured by cameras? Without cameras how many things would be forgotten? Think about all of the historical pictures that have meant so much over the years. Now think about how looking at old family photos can immediately place you back in that exact moment with loved ones! Think about how awesome it is to watch an old home movie and hear the voices of loved ones who are no longer here. I am SO thankful for the memories that have been preserved for me on film. My dad recently gave me a video camera saying that I will need it with the baby on the way.
  16. Dreams and the ability to dream. This kind of goes with #15. I am thankful that every now and then, I will have a dream where I am once again talking with my mom or my grandparents. In the original blog, I mentioned that in my Facebook Memories for that day I mentioned a dream I had where I was hanging out with Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin – only in dreams!! The morning of the baby shower, I dreamed about my mom. Dreams are really interesting things!
  17. My Past. Sometimes looking back at the past can be painful. Hindsight is 20/20, right? It’s always easy to look back and see the mistakes you have made and kick yourself for making them. I look at it another way – I am who I am today because of my past. The things that have happened to me along the way – both good and bad – are a part of who I am and have played a role in who I am today. Yes, I can look back and see people or events that disgust me, but without them – I’d be a very different person.
  18. Air Conditioning/Heat. As someone who loves to go to museums and such, I always wondered how people got along without AC in the summertime or heat in the winter! I can’t imagine having to wake up in the middle of the night to add more wood to the fire or wood stove. I also can’t imagine working 8 hours a day in a place without AC! I am very thankful for those two modern-day conveniences!
  19. Sunrises and Sunsets. One of my guilty pleasures is sitting and watching the sun come up or go down. When I lived on the west side of the state (Michigan), I was lucky enough to live right off the water. I would often go to the beach and just watch the sun set over the lake. It was majestic and beautiful! I am so thankful for these two simple things. Today, with my schedule, I tend to see more sunrises than sunsets.
  20. Laughter/Humor. I love to laugh and I love the sound of laughter! I also love to make people laugh. I am so thankful for things that are funny and things that make me laugh. Charlie Chaplin said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” Milton Berle said, “Laughter is an instant vacation.” Another great quote is “Life is short. Spend it with people who make you laugh and feel loved.” I am looking forward to hearing our baby laugh at the silly faces and silly noises her daddy will be making.
  21. Music. I am thankful for music in SO many ways. Music, is one of those things that can evoke all kinds of emotions. A song, just like an old photograph, can take you back in time. In radio, we used to play what we called “Oh Wow” songs. Those songs that make you say, “Oh wow! I haven’t heard that in forever!” or “Oh wow! That reminds me of my senior prom!” Music is one of life’s great things! It can convey things with or without words. One of my favorite quotes, which is attributed to Hans Christian Anderson, is “Where words fail – music speaks.” SO True! I am thankful for some of the many music blogs I follow. They often remind me of some of those “Oh wow” songs!
  22. The Kindness of Strangers. I have benefited from the kindness of strangers more times than I can count. We saw a brief surge of random acts of kindness when the movie “Pay It Forward” came out, and it is a shame that those acts have fizzled out. The world would be a better place if we took a moment and thought of others. There have been plenty of times where someone in front of me has bought my coffee at the drive-thru window, and I have returned the favor. I remember one time seeing an elderly gentleman eating alone in a restaurant. He never knew who I was, but I saw his World War II Veteran hat. I bought his meal and told the waitress to tell him that I thank him for his service. Random acts of kindness are not just something we can accept – they are something we can do.
  23. Those who have served in the Armed Forces. We live in a free country because of the men and women who have served in the various branches of the military. I am thankful to each and every one of them. I know that our freedom came with a price and so many men and women paid the ultimate price for me – and you. Those that have served, no matter what branch and no matter if you were in battle or not, you are a hero! I am thankful for you and your service! I have friends and family who all served, and I am thankful for these heroes!
  24. The Changing Seasons. Here in Michigan, I get to see them all! Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. The first snowfall is beautiful. Ice storms can be hell! Springtime showers and the grass turning green is a reminder of things becoming new again. Summertime is never long enough, but getting the chance to swim at the pool, golfing, and the smell of fresh-cut grass can always make me smile. Fall is my favorite season! This year we got hit with some early snow, so the joke is that Fall was the best “three days of the year”! The crisp cool air of autumn is perfect for bonfires. The leaves changing colors makes for some spectacular rides on the highway. I wish we had a few more bonfires this year. At any rate, I am thankful to get to experience each one of the seasons.
  25. Spell Checker. Without this, I really don’t know what I would do! I remember all those spelling tests from school! The problem is, as I get older, I seem to have forgotten how to spell. Spell Check is one of those great features that got me through many a research paper in college. It can also be very helpful here in my blog. Of course, sometimes, you can misspell a word that is the correct spelling of another word, so it isn’t foolproof. I’m thankful for it anyway!
  26. The often overlooked necessities. I could easily make these each an item on this list. I guess these are often things that are taken for granted. For example, my home. I am thankful to have a roof over my head to protect me from the elements. I am thankful for the clothes that I wear. My wife was just telling me that I probably need to purge some of the stuff that no longer fits and donate them to Goodwill. It’s nice to have enough that I can donate some and still have enough to wear. I am thankful for fresh water and hot showers. Those two go together and, while it is often taken for granted, there are those who do not enjoy those simple things. I am thankful for electricity. While there are times I think it is cool to sit and read a book by candlelight because of a power outage, I’d rather have the light – and everything else that uses it. I am thankful for a good meal. Sometimes that meal may consist of a simple bowl of cereal, but the fact that I have food to eat is something that some people don’t have.
  27. Bad Days. As much as we’d rather not have them, it is important to remember that when we have them, they remind us of just how awesome the good days are! I am thankful for bad days, but even more thankful for the good ones! I am also thankful that in the big picture – I have had more good ones than bad ones.
  28. The Internet. It’s funny how we lived so long without it, yet we can’t really live without it today! I mean, without it, you wouldn’t be reading this! I am thankful for it and the good things associated with it. I am thankful to be able to connect with family and friends across the miles with social media. I am thankful that at any moment, I can open up Google and find an answer to a silly question. I am thankful that my kids and I can use it instead of encyclopedias to do research. So many things are at our fingertips because of the internet.
  29. A good book/movie/TV show. I really enjoy being able to get lost in a good story. I love to read, but sadly don’t really get the time to do it as often as I’d like to. Same with a good movie. With movies, there are very few new movies that appeal to me. As most of you know, I prefer older films (you know, the ones that are so good some jerk in Hollywood decides to remake it and ruin it). I don’t need to see 20 minute sex scenes, car chases that are impossible to believe, blood and gore, or violence. I want a good story – and a good story is something that Hollywood has seemed to run out of. When it comes to TV, I rarely watch new shows. Most of them are “reality” based anyway and just garbage. I guess that’s why I am thankful for TV shows on DVD. Ok, last year, I kinda dissed on reality TV, and I should clarify that I mean talent shows, dance shows, and shows with singers in masks. To me, these are just a waste of my time. A “reality” show I do love is Live PD. It can be funny, sad, scary, and intense. It makes me appreciate what they do each day!
  30. My dumb cat(s). Ok, talk about aggravating! He is forever knocking things over while I am trying to sleep. I am constantly tripping over him as I walk through the house. He will attack and bite my leg for no reason. He is always jumping up on the table when I am trying to eat. He’s a real pain in my behind. However, there are times where he can really be a cool cat. It’s because of those things – I am thankful for him. Updating this a year later, we heard that getting another cat can actually help and it did. Our older can still can get on my nerves, but he is a lot more mellow now! HE must have a feeling Sam is expecting, because he curls up next to her and falls asleep – he is a totally different cat! The kitten is so cute! Her favorite toy is a bullet from a Nerf gun. She plays with those all the time! She doesn’t purr as much as her older brother, but she is still cute as hell!
  31. The five senses. I can’t imagine going through life not being able to see my children or my wife or some of the wonderful things I have already described. I can’t imagine not being able to smell fresh coffee brewing or my spaghetti sauce on the stove. I can’t imagine not hearing the sound of my boys laughing. I can’t imagine not being able to taste a juicy steak. I can’t imagine not being able to feel a hug from my wife. I am SO thankful to have the ability to have all five senses!
  32. Forgiveness. I am thankful for forgiveness. Sadly, it is one of those things that is rare today. It is, however, one of the great things taught in the bible and throughout history. It is also one of the hardest things to do. I have trouble with it too on occasion. I am thankful that there are friends and family who have forgiven me for past transgressions.
  33. Acceptance. I am thankful for those people in my life who accept me for who I am. They don’t try to change me. There may be things about me that they don’t like or agree with, but they love and accept me as I am. I try to do the same for others.
  34. Encouragement. I would not be where am I today without the encouragement and support of others. It may have been the smallest gesture or a simple sentence in conversation, but the encouragement of others helped me to get through some tough stuff and I am thankful for that.
  35. Change. This is hard for me to be thankful for, but I am. I have to be honest, I hate change! I am a creature of habit. When I lost 85 pounds, I did it primarily by eating the same meals every day. I do not like change, but I know it is important. There were many times over the last couple years that I had to step out of my comfort zone and accept it. I am thankful I did. Change is good – most of the time.
  36. My Therapist. She, like many others, helped me to cope as life offered many challenges. She helped me sort out some feelings. She helped me to see things that I was completely unaware of. She helped me deal with the things involved in my divorce. She also is responsible for my blogs. I used to blog all the time, but was basically told that “no one wants to read that stuff”. I stopped writing. My therapist is the one who suggested keeping a journal. When I told her I used to blog, she asked why I stopped. When I told her why, she suggested starting back up. I told her I didn’t know what to write about. She basically said, “Write about whatever you want! It doesn’t matter if you are writing for others or writing for yourself. If you like to write – WRITE!” From the length of this blog – you can see that I like to write.
  37. Facebook memories. This is a two-edged sword. It is a daily reminder or good things from the past, as well as times with people no longer in my life. I am thankful for it just the same. Many times it is a simple one liner I posted as a status, while other times it is my thoughts about my boys school events. Some pictures bring back good memories, while others bring back sad memories. I smile at the good ones and try to forget the bad ones, but again remind myself that I am who I am today because of the past.
  38. Big John’s Steak and Onion. Don’t judge me! I am thankful that when I am craving a really good sub, I can go here and grab a Supreme Cheeseburger with olives! Yummy!!
  39. Pumpkin Pie with Cool Whip. Ok, so I finally had dessert while I was writing this. I love a good piece of pumpkin pie topped with Cool Whip.
  40. YOU. Yep. I am thankful for YOU. You are reading this and I appreciate it. I am thankful for my followers and for those who read my stuff. Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for following this blog.

What are YOU thankful for??

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Spilling the Beans ….

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

Friday

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

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

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

The Ultrasound

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Telling Dad

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday Night

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

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

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

Sunday

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

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

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

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

Telling the Boys

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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