Time Well Spent

Sometimes, you have to MAKE time. That is what I did the last time my boss asked for all of our “time off requests.” I chose one day a month and took it off to be sure that my wife and I get some “us” time. Last Friday, was the first of those days.

By the end of Wednesday night, I was ready to have that day off! Wednesday was a real mess. Everybody had really difficult patients. It was like someone deliberately put all of them on the same night to create the “Perfect Crapstorm!” I could hear Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy in 30 Rock’s fantastic line, “What is your contingency plan for a crapstorm of this magnitude?” running through my head all night.

Thursday, I came home and was able to get some sleep. I was up at my normal time, and about to get ready for work when I received a text message that there were patients who cancelled and it was my turn to stay home. I cannot even begin to tell you how overjoyed I was to have a bonus night off!

I told my wife that after dinner, we were going to get ice cream! It certainly was not on my diet, but all that mattered was that I was going to have the night with the family. We all packed into the car and went to a local ice cream place about 8 miles from us. I tried to get a family picture while we were there, but neither of the kids knew we were taking the picture …

It was a perfect night. It wasn’t too hot, but there was plenty of sunshine. One of the best moments of the evening was watching Ella willingly share her ice cream with Andrew. It was so sweet to watch.

Then came Friday. Knowing that we were planning on having dinner out somewhere, Sam and I began to discuss where to go to eat. Why is trying to decide where to eat such a chore for couples? It’s crazy. Sam said she’d be happy going to Applebee’s, which I really didn’t want to do. So we looked at the internet and our “lists.” We have a list of places that we would love to try and a list of places that we like. We decided to stay close to home and go to one of our favorite Mexican places.

Prior to us dating, we used to go to this place with one of our teachers. The food is excellent. Once we began dating, we’d go there often. Now, there is one close to our house and we eat there frequently. We dropped the kids off at Sam’s sister’s house and we went to the restaurant that was close to the college.

They brought us their homemade chips and salsa, which is something I should have avoided because of how many points the chips are on Weight Watchers, but I didn’t. Instead, I made the healthy choice of avoiding the chimichangas I usually order, and opted for the chicken fajita, which is basically all free. I ate loads of veggies and chicken. I avoided the tortilla shells and the sour cream. It was delicious.

I also did something I hadn’t done in some time – I had a beer. I made sure to get a light beer and I counted the points for it. While I enjoyed it, I realized that I really have not missed it. There was a time where I was drinking beer almost every night. It was emotionally driven and brought on by stress. Today, I don’t feel the need to drink at all. I’m happy with my coffee or water.

After dinner, Sam and I drove to Target and walked through the store. We were looking for a couple things, but mostly just browsing. We got a few ideas for the kids for Christmas and enjoyed just walking – with no real hurry to get stuff done. It was wonderful.

The time together was much needed. It was a perfect evening. Driving home to get the kids, we talked, held hands and just enjoyed “us.” I am already looking forward to next month’s date day!!

Share and Share Alike

One of the most difficult things for a toddler to do is share. Teaching them how to share can be just as difficult.

“It’s mine!” “My blanket!” “Stop it! That’s mine!

Walk into any daycare, kindergarten class, or home with toddlers and I can guarantee you will hear those phrases. If not those exact phrases, you will hear variations of them. Sharing does not come easy for those youngsters.

Today, however, my wife posted something that melted my heart. After I left for work, she took the kids out for ice cream. She caught Ella sharing her ice cream with Andrew …

She said that she was proud to be sharing with him. Look at how careful she is feeding him. What a beautiful scene. Sam told me that he was just as sweet. He would clap his hands when he ate and was very patient to wait for Ella to give him his next bite.

So you have the naturally impatient baby who grabs at what he wants, being patient and awaiting his next scoop AND the naturally selfish toddler who opened her heart and shared her treat with her brother. It was as though the two of them had major personality changes – even if it was just for a few minutes.

What a truly amazing moment!

Prompt: That Was Then, This Is Now

Maggie, at From Cave Walls, and Lauren, at LSS Attitude of Gratitude, alternate hosting Throwback Thursday. The idea of the prompt is for them to give us a topic and for us to write a post in which we share our own memories or experiences about the given topic.

This week’s prompt is: That Was Then And This Is Now  “Growing up, we all had dreams and aspirations.  I’d like you to think back about what you were like and what you wanted as a kid compared to the adult choices you made.

Here are the questions and my responses:

When you were a kid, did you like your name? Would you have changed it if you could? Do you like it now?

I suppose I liked my name growing up. I really didn’t have a reason not to like it. I was the only Keith in my class and I was ok with that. It always bugged me that people always spelled it wrong, even though I know why (i before e, except after c – so everyone spelled it Kieth).

I really don’t think I would change it. I wasn’t even aware that a name change was possible, and then I found out my dad had actually legally changed his name from Salvatore to Sam, which everyone called him.

Yes, I like it just fine.

As a kid, what always brought a smile to your face? What about now, as an adult? (family-friendly please)

As a kid – summer and all that came with it: vacations, baseball games with friends, trips up north, running through the sprinkler. As an adult, my family. My children make me smile everyday. My wife also makes me smile. The times that we can all be together are priceless.

What was the most important lesson your parents taught you? Did you pass that lesson down to your family? The most important lesson(s) I learned from my parents was to always be supportive, respectful and responsible. I hope that I have passed that down in the way I have parented my children.

Are there talents you started as a child that you still have? If so, what are they?

I don’t know that I would call it a talent, but I always seemed to be able to make people laugh, I truly try to bring levity and fun to wherever I go. I also seem to be good at whipping off some sort of silly rhyme on command. I am a far cry from Nipsey Russell, but I get by.

Is there something you regret not doing or starting when you were young? What was it?

This is sort of a loaded question, because I think I am where I am at today because of where I have been and the decisions made along the way (good and bad). I do regret not going to college right away, but it was probably better that I didn’t. I’m sure I would have flunked out. I also wish I had learned to play the guitar at a young age. My dad recently gave me an acoustic guitar that I hope to try to teach myself.

Did you have more close friends as a kid or as an adult? Any idea why?

I would guess I have more close friends today than I did as a kid. I had a couple good friends growing up (and they are still good friends today), but I think we were kind of the “weird kids” and we all decided to just hang out with each other. As far as “why,” I am not sure. The ones who were important to me still are. They are the ones I confide in, complain to, and share with.

Where did you go to think as a kid? Where do you go now?

As a kid I would often walk up to the elementary school and sit on the swings to think. I spent hours there, sometimes alone and sometimes with a friend. When I got my license, I would drive up to Jefferson Ave and sit by the water. On occasion, I would get to watch a moon rise which was spectacular. Now, I would guess I drive around in my car or go for a walk. If the weather is not ideal, I guess I think in bed.

What would be the name of the chapter of your life from 10 – 18? What would the name be the name of the chapter of your life currently?

Wow, that’s tough. That’s an entire 8 year span and so much was going on. Perhaps it might be called, “Finding Myself” or ” Struggle” or “What Next?” The chapter name for my life currently might easily be “A Wonderful New Beginning” or “The Second Chance” or “Happily Ever After.”

What wonderful thing happened in your adult life that your child self could never have imagined?

Divorce might not be what you expect to see in this answer, and as a child, I never thought it would happen to me. But it was a “wonderful” thing that brought about the opportunity to meet and marry my soul mate and have two more children.

Would your child self like your adult self? Why or why not?

I would think that my child self would like my adult self. After all, we both have the same taste in movies, music, and TV. We also love baseball, golf, and football. We also love the same types of books. I’d think we’d have plenty in common …

I’d love to see your answers to these questions, too!

Thoughts on The Measure

A week or so ago, I mentioned that I had started reading The Measure by Nikki Erlick. In case you missed it, here is the Goodreads “tease” about the book:

Here is the summary from Goodreads:

Eight ordinary people. One extraordinary choice.

It seems like any other day. You wake up, pour a cup of coffee, and head out.

But today, when you open your front door, waiting for you is a small wooden box. This box holds your fate inside: the answer to the exact number of years you will live.

From suburban doorsteps to desert tents, every person on every continent receives the same box. In an instant, the world is thrust into a collective frenzy. Where did these boxes come from? What do they mean? Is there truth to what they promise?

As society comes together and pulls apart, everyone faces the same shocking choice: Do they wish to know how long they’ll live? And, if so, what will they do with that knowledge?

The Measure charts the dawn of this new world through an unforgettable cast of characters whose decisions and fates interweave with one another: best friends whose dreams are forever entwined, pen pals finding refuge in the unknown, a couple who thought they didn’t have to rush, a doctor who cannot save himself, and a politician whose box becomes the powder keg that ultimately changes everything. 

My Thoughts

All in all, I found the book to be very good. I found it to be thought provoking and almost scary in regard to just how much of it I could relate to the world today.

There is so much division in the world today. Those divisions can be religious, racial, political, sexual and many other subdivisions. In the book, those divisions are based on the length of the string a person had. In the story, long strings mean a long life and short strings mean a short life. Throughout the story, we see the way “short stringers” are treated by “long stringers.” You could easily substitute “White, Straight, or Christian” for “long stringers” and “Black, Gay, and Atheist” for “Short stringers” and kind of apply the book to today.

In the story, there is a “short stringer” running for President. People are up in arms about voting for someone that they know could very well die in office. Lincoln, Kennedy, FDR, and a few others died in office and many would think that they were good Presidents. If people knew they were going to die, would they have been elected? If not, think of the possible alternate historical outcomes.

While the strings are the underlying theme of the book, as well as the thing that brings everything together, it is really about the 8 main characters and how they react to them. I found them to be believable and I really enjoyed how the lives of these characters all intersected and came together. I questioned a few things about a couple of the characters and then realized that the way they were written was something that was needed to compare with the strings.

There was a couple twists toward the end of the story that were unexpected. Some reviews I read said that the book left them in tears. I didn’t cry, but it certainly made an impact on me and I thought about it for a few days.

Would You Open Your Box?

There are characters in the book who do not open their box. They chose to live life without the knowledge of when they are going to die. They chose not to feel the burden of knowing they only have a short while, or relax knowing that they have a long life ahead of them.

As for the ones who know the length of their strings, we are shown the various feelings that go along with that. Husbands with long strings and their wives with short strings. How do you prepare for that? What if you were let go from your job, or not hired for one, because of the length of your string?

The book made me think about a lot. I would certainly recommend it.

Closing thoughts

I have said before that one of my “life quotes” was something I read in 1988: “Live every day as if it were your last. Some day, you’ll be right.” In the book, I read where someone had a sign or a t-shirt that read, “Live like a short stringer” or something to that effect. Same kind of thing.

Now that I am in my 50’s, I think often about wanting to be sure that I get the most out of the rest of my years. I want to experience all the joys of my marriage and make memories with my wife. I have 4 children – two of them under 3 years old. I want to witness all the things they do. I want to see graduations, weddings, and grandchildren. I want to experience daddy/daughter picnics and dances and once again coach t-ball and teach them how to throw a baseball.

Once you reach 50, life sort of begins the downward slope. I am eating right and losing weight because I want to be around for a long time. I don’t want to leave my family alone. I want to be there to offer the right advice. I want to be there to comfort any sadness. I want to be there to give praise and encouragement. I want to be there to share the happiness and sadness of life’s ups and downs.

I don’t have a string to tell me how long I’ll be here, but I plan on living each day to its fullest.

Happy 246th Birthday, USA!

My family and I had a nice weekend celebrating America’s birthday.

My wife had to work Sunday night, so she came home and slept for part of the day before getting up to get ready for the festivities. As I have mentioned in the past, our city puts on a nice little fireworks show that we can watch right from our back yard. Because of this, the Fourth has kind of been “our” holiday.

Most of Sam’s family had planned to be up north at her dad’s cottage for the holiday. Her mom was going to be home with her sister and asked if it would be ok to come over. We had no plans, so we were more than happy to have them come over. It wasn’t long before the rest of her family decided that they were going to come over, too!

After Sam got up and we all got ready, we posed for our annual “Family Fourth of July selfie. I’m sure that we did this long before Ella was born, but they have meant more with her in them. I went back and found the pictures from the years before and put them back to back to back. This year, we forgot to look at the year’s prior so we could all be standing the same way, but we got every in it and looking at the camera. Here is July 4th – 2020, 2021 and 2022 (with the addition of Andrew):

Sam had looked back at her Facebook memories and there was a very cute picture of Ella walking down the sidewalk with a flag in her hand. We tried to recreate it with her this year, and then had AJ try it, too.

She had on the cutest outfit! Her shorts are an American flag!

I love the way Andrew looks here! He was waving the flag as I took the picture.

Sam’s folks brought hot dogs and we cooked them up on the grill. There was fresh pineapple, watermelon, and homemade cookies. Best of all, there was family. My nieces and nephew were over and Ella and Andrew had a blast playing with them. Aunt Emily brought glow necklaces, glow bracelets, and glow sticks so each kid was lit up pretty good.

I fogged the back yard with some spray I had never used before. It was made by Coleman and it is meant for camp grounds. It was great, because I made it through the night without a mosquito bite. I wish it would have repelled the flying beetles that seemed to be all over the place, though.

Around 10, we all gathered up our chairs and went out to the back of the yard to watch the fireworks show. Our town put on about a 30 minute show, which lit up the sky! At first, Ella was loving it. “Wow! Fireworks! Amazing!” she yelled. But after about 10 minutes, she was ready to go in the house. Andrew was ready to be done, too. Sam went inside with them, and the nieces and nephew.

I was actually standing in a bad spot when I took these pictures. You can see the tree in the left of the shot. If you get closer to the end of our back yard, you get a pretty clear view of the entire show.

The hardest part of the night is when the show is over and folks are trying to leave. Our street is full of cars leaving from the show. Eventually, all the family left and Sam and I were able to get the kids down to sleep. It was almost midnight and they were still up!! I don’t think they’ve ever stayed up that late before.

All in all a very nice Fourth with the family. I hope you and yours had a great holiday as well.

Happy Birthday, America!!!

My Heart is Full

Recently I posted a blog that was difficult to write. It was regarding some things with my son. It dealt with some hurt I was sorting through. I am happy to say that I was able to see him today.

He is currently having difficulty with a summer school math class. He asked if he could come over and see if I could help him. I told him that I would do my best, but math – algebra, in particular – was certainly not by best subject.

Last night at work, I had a patient who was a no-show. Honestly, I wanted to pack up and head home immediately. However, there were studies that needed to be scored and submitted, so I stayed and did that. I was able to leave work about two hours early. When I got home everyone was still sleeping, and rather than crawl in bed with Sam (who had Andrew sleeping next to her), I went out to the couch and fell asleep.

When they woke up, they came out and woke me up. I helped Sam with some things and then went to bed so that I could at least have some sleep before my son arrived. I had told my ex to bring him over at around the kid’s nap time so that I could work with him. To my surprise, my oldest son wound up bringing him over.

We got to spend a bit talking about some things that needed to be addressed (some of the things in the previous blog), and just catching up. My oldest son was going to meet me at where we normally do drop off and pick up later this evening.

My son and I spent about 3 and a half hours looking at problems and searching my old college algebra books to see if we could figure out how to do them. I even called my buddy from school who is my “go to” math guy a couple times to see if he could help. We didn’t do fantastic, and I hope that it is good enough for him to pass the class.

Sam left for work about 5:30 and I packed up the kids around 6 to head to the drop off. When I arrived, my son was already there. He is in college, has a job, and is always with his friends, so Ella and Andrew rarely get to see him. Ella knows who he is because of pictures on the wall. She prays every night for her big and little brothers.

She was in her car seat and I rolled her window down so she could say hello. She asked to get out because she wanted to hug my oldest. Is was so cute. I naturally took Andrew out of his seat too, because my son wanted to hold him. He commented that he had the bluest eyes. He was surprised when I told him he was walking. I told him they are getting big very fast and he should come over to visit more.

It was the first opportunity in forever that all four of my kids were together in one place. My oldest tried to snap a selfie, which was cute, but I wanted a picture of all of them.

We found a place in the parking lot where they could all sit and after a few tries to get everyone looking at the camera – I got one. It is perfect. All four of them together.

My blessings – Andrew, Dimitri, Ella, and Dante’

I am overwhelmed with joy as I look at this photo. I never really understood unconditional love until I became a father. I understand how God loves me, despite all of my faults and screw-ups, unconditionally. I understand it, because, I will always love these amazing kids that way – no matter what.

One of the coolest moments happened after the picture was taken. I mentioned to Ella that the boys had to get going because they were going to stop by a classic car show. She said ok, and when they stood up, as my oldest began to walk, she ran up to him and grabbed his hand and held it all the way to the car!

I was so glad I still had my phone in my hand so I could capture it. He helped her into her car seat and actually buckled her in as I got Andrew in his seat. She looked at him and said, “I love you, Dante’!” which I think really took him by surprise. He said “I love you, too!” and then she told Dimitri she loved him too. What an amazing moment to witness. They both went to Andrew and and he smiled at them, before we all got in our cars and left to go home.

After we video chatted with mommy at work, we decided to take a walk around the neighborhood. Ella was excited because she got to see 4 puppies who were out walking while we were. She had to get out of her seat and say hello to them all!

We came home and it was bedtime, so I helped her brush her teeth ad within minutes of hitting the pillow, she was asleep. Andrew took a bit longer to fall asleep. As soon as they were down, I fixed a salad and began typing this. I’ve only had 3 hours sleep today and really should have just gone to bed …. However, I wanted to share my happiness while I was still smiling about it.

Tonight, I head to bed with a heart full of love, joy, gratitude, understanding, and happiness!

Thanks for reading.

Cast the Movie of Your Life

The Word Press App on my phone will offer a daily writing prompt to bloggers. I subscribe to a few “prompt” emails and such, and they can certainly be thought starters. Today’s prompt was one I had considered before and I may have even been asked a similar question by a Facebook friend. The prompt:

They are making a movie about your life. Cast it. (Keith adds – with any actors living or dead)

My thoughts on this are to jot down what comes to mind immediately for some (not all) of my family, and a few friends (other friends may request I suggest an actor/actress for them if they really want me to). I will then continue to ponder the question and see if, after thinking it over, I would change any of my choices.

Me

Dom Deluise – No Brainer. This has always been my answer to this question!

My wife, Sam

This was tough. I tried to think of who might look like her and carry herself like Sam. Toss up between Charlize Theron and Olivia Wilde.

My Dad

I’m not sure there would be any better than Jackie Gleason to play my dad

My Mom

Who in the world could play my mom? Tough question and still not really sure, but I forced myself to pick someone. At times, Cathy Bates’ facial expressions remind me of her, so for now – that’ my pick.

My Brother – Chris

Really difficult pick. So just because it will either make him laugh (and he needs that, because he is recovering from Covid) or it will make him mad… William Shatner (Because I wanted to post this stupid picture!)

My Grandma and Grandpa P

Estelle Getty on Golden Girls WAS my grandma! I always felt Abe Vigoda looked like my grandpa, so there ya go.

My Grandma and Grandpa D.

I have always felt like at times, Betty White reminded me of my grandma. My grandpa was tall, a bit heavy, and always smiling. John Goodman reminds me of him.

My best friend, Jeff

Another no brainer. I’ve said for years that he reminds me of Robin Williams.

My friend Steve K.

Steve always has some sort of crazy fact that seems unbelievable to tell. So, he would be John Ratzenberger – but John Ratzenberger AS Cliff Claven from Cheers.

My friend Joe K.

Joe is probably one of the smartest guys I know. At first, I couldn’t get Jeff Goldblum out of my head, and then I though Rainn Wilson is a bit more “Joe” to me.

My friend Steve M.

Steve and I wear our hair the same. My first choice was Vin Diesel, but then I though Michael Chiklis looked more like him (and he played Curly in a Three Stooges movie, so he wins).

My friend Margaret M.

She’s Italian. She’s fiesty. She is strong. She is an expert at inserting profanity into conversation. Without a doubt – Marisa Tomei.

My friend, Chris B,

Tall and funny = Conan O’Brien

Uh …… I’m Stumped

Now, as far as my kids …. I’m just not sure. My older boys (Dante’ and Dimitri) have personalities that are very established. Ella does in a sense as well. Andrew is just a smiling happy baby. How do I begin to pick who will play them? I just don’t know….

It’s my blog and my rules. Let me think a bit on this ….

If I left you out …. and you want me to think about who will play you – let me know. In the meantime ….

Go ahead and cast YOUR life. Who would play YOU?

Something to look forward to

It seems like forever since my wife and I have actually had a night (or day for that matter) out. We will remedy that tomorrow. Even though I work tonight, I have arranged for the kids to visit Nana and Papa tomorrow so that we can enjoy some time together.

Sam’s birthday is coming up on Monday, and we’re taking the day to celebrate it. We will definitely be going out to dinner (or lunch) at one of our favorite restaurants. While there are a list of possible things to do as well, nothing is really set in stone. We are simply looking forward to time together – just us.

I think it was Anthony Robbins who once said, “Do what you did in the beginning of a relationship and there won’t be an end.” There is a lot of truth to that. Our love was built by spending time together. We talked. We held hands. We dated. Yes, we are a family now, but together – Sam and I are the foundation of that family. In order to strengthen the family, we cannot lose sight of “US.”

There is so much truth to the above quote! Our challenge has always been our work schedules. We have already talked about the need for us to make sure that we are taking time off from work to be sure that we have time to be together. That is SO important. Without that time to strengthen our relationship and husband and wife – our roles are mom and dad will suffer (and so will our family).

This may sound ridiculous, but knowing that we will have this time together tomorrow has me so very excited. There is a new found energy in anticipating our date tomorrow. Even this morning, when I got home from work, I watched my wife as she walked into the kitchen and took in all her beauty. My mind raced as I thought about just being able to sit across from her and have the opportunity to hold her hand and look into her eyes. I’m excited to be able to kiss her without the cries of a child interrupting that moment. I can’t wait to hug her without a tug on my pant leg because of spilled milk that needs to be cleaned up.

Tomorrow – I plan on enjoying every single moment that my wife and I get to be a couple. I cannot wait to celebrate her – celebrate us – and celebrate all we have been blessed with!

Memorable Memorial Day Weekend

I hope this blog finds you well rested after the holiday weekend. It was a relaxing weekend for us for the most part. We had lots of outside time and actually got to enjoy some family time.

Andrew will be walking on his own and without any help VERY soon. He’s taken some steps randomly here and there. Yesterday, he took like 10 steps from the couch to where the cat was. That’s the most I’ve seen him take so far without falling.

He had some lasagna the other night for dinner and he was so soaked with sauce, we had to give him a bath, Afterward, he was sitting in the living room and I had to laugh that his hair was like Alfalfa from the Little Rascals.

One day while he was napping, Ella and I went for a walk around the neighborhood. She always asks to see her “puppy friend.” Lately, the pup has been up on the back porch. She was so happy to see it closer.

When we got closer to home, I noticed the smell of lilacs. Sam planted them when she moved in about 7 years ago and they are getting so big. They smell just amazing. It’s always a spring highlight when they bloom.

She got some mommy daughter time this weekend, too. Mommy took her out Monday morning for donuts. She got to order donuts for everyone. She knows dad likes Boston Cream, mom likes chocolate dip, and she loves Tim Bits. She loved sitting at the picnic table watching the cars go by before bringing home my donut.

Still in PJ’s! Eating Tim Bits with Mommy.

Andrew’s high chair needed a good cleaning. The last few meals were messy. So Sam took it outside and used the hose to clean it up. This caused a big pool of water to build up on the driveway, which Ella immediately wanted to play in!

Sam knows she loves the water, so she got Ella (and Andrew) a new water table. I spent the day putting it together so they could play with it. It came with plastic fish, turtles, and buckets. I’m sure they will have a lot of fun playing with it. Now, we just got to get Ella to share!

After the lawnmower fiasco (see previous blog), we stayed home and enjoyed the remainder of the holiday. We threw some brats on the grill and afterward, had ice cream. All in all, it was a nice family weekend.

A Fun and Busy Weekend

To say this weekend was not a hectic one would be a lie. In all honesty, the entire month has been busy for Sam and me. Sam has been running back and forth to various doc appointments and helmet appointments, plus helping her folks out with her sister. Both of us are running on little to no sleep. How we are making in through our nights at work and our days at home, I really have no idea.

Sam was up early on Saturday. I cam home and slept about 3 hours before having to get up and get my son. I picked him up at his mom’s house and then we drove to Sam’s parents’ house. She was there with Ella and Andrew helping out with her sister. I picked up Ella and came back home.

It was beautiful on Saturday! There was a lot of sunshine and it was close to 80 degrees. Ella wanted to play outside, so she ran around the yard playing with her toys as Dimitri and I worked on a couple projects. The biggest project was the swing set that Sam bought for the kids. It took about 3 hours to put together and I was pretty impressed with it.

Back in the day, I remember my dad having to dig or drill holes for the swing set poles to set into. Then he’d have to pour cement in them and it had to dry before we could use it. This set was neat. It had “shoes” that went on the bottom of each leg. There was a stake that you “screwed” into the ground and then you bolted the shoe to the stake. That thing is solid, let me tell you! I was pretty impressed.

Ella loves going to the park and swinging on the swings and Andrew had never been on one. We ordered a toddler swing to go put on it (it came with one) so both kids could swing at the same time. They absolutely loved it!!

The kids got to swing for a bit and then we went in and had dinner. We all went to bed early, because we were all wiped out.

Sam had to work Sunday, so she was up for a bit and then went back to try to get some sleep. So I decided to take the kids for a walk before it rained. Ella wanted to take her baby doll for a walk too. So I loaded up Andrew in the double stroller and she grabbed her baby doll and we walked the neighborhood.

What made me really smile was to see the people who were passing by in cars looking at Ella, waving at her and smiling. It was awesome. She really enjoyed being able to walk her baby. After we got home, we played outside for a while. Andrew was so interested in everything. He loved just playing around on the blanket out on the lawn.

I had planned on Dimitri staying until the evening, but I guess he had some dinner to go to. So Dante’ came to pick him up and take him to the dinner. Dante’ is working a lot and going to college, so it is rare for me to see them both together. Even though it was just for a few minutes, it was nice to have them both there. I had to fight them to get them to pose for a picture!

Dimitri helped me put the swing set together and also helped me take down the remainder of the Christmas lights. Yes, I know, it is almost May! That should tell you just how crazy life has been our way. On the days I wanted to get out and do it, it was either freezing, raining, and most recently – snowing! I’m glad they are finally down!

He also helped me move some furniture around. Andrew is having some separation issues. It has been a challenge to do anything without him attached to us. If we are not in the same room with him, he loses it. He’s never really slept well if it isn’t in our arms or in our bed. So we moved the crib to our bedroom, got him his own sound machine, and hoped that he’d start sleeping in it.

Yep. That’s his crib … at the end of our bed! I’m really hoping that he gets into that crib sooner than later. Sam and I would welcome a night of sleep without getting a helmet to the head or kicks in the stomach.

Finally, some big news that is NOT family related…

As a life long Detroit Tiger Fan, it was very cool to hear that Miguel Cabrera joined an elite club on Saturday. He got his 3000th hit! Miggy has certainly made baseball fun to watch here in Michigan. Now, we just need to get back to the World Series – and win it! Congrats, Miggy!!