New Year – New Blog – A Recap

Hello and Happy New Year! I hope that this blog finds you well and that you had a fantastic holiday season! Wow, it’s 2020! For the next few months I will wonder whether to refer to it as “twenty twenty” or “two thousand twenty”! Which is correct?!?

One thing that was mentioned at work before the new year, and something I have seen posed on some local and national news feeds that is worth mentioning is that you should probably avoid abbreviating the new year on documents this year. When you abbreviate 1/3/20, keep in mind that someone can easily add 02, 17, or 10 to the end of it to make it 2002, 2017, or 2010. There’s my public service announcement for the year!

Sam and I were quite busy over the past 5 days! We have been in the process of taking our dining room and turning it into a nursery for the baby. We basically made a wall and a half wall, which created her nursery, a hallway, and added a wall in the kitchen. The dining room originally looked like this:

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The wall was erected just to the right of the light switch and ran right to the edge of the counter top you see in the lower right of the above picture. There was no wall in front of this part of the counter, so we built one to finish the room.

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December 31, 2019

On New Year’s Eve, my father-in-law came over to help me put up some of the final pieces of trim, and to put shiplap up in the kitchen. The original thought was that we would put up the shiplap and then paint it. However, when we saw it up, we liked the look of the wood as it was, so we will probably just stain it. We feel that it gives the kitchen a “cabin” feel. As a bonus, I was allowed to use table saws and a nail gun!

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By the time we finished, Sam and I ran out and grabbed some burgers and watched TV on the couch. Since we have been together, we have never been able to spend New Year’s Eve together, because she worked. Until this year, I’d call her at 11:55 pm, and tell her I loved her when the new year rang in. This year, it was just her and I on the couch, and we finally got to kiss at midnight. I felt like I was in high school again! I know it is something so simple, but it meant a lot to have her with me this year.

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This year I bounced from channel to channel. In year’s past, I always watched Dick Clark ring in the new year. As sad as it was to see him on the show after his stroke, it was still Dick Clark. New Year’s Eve and Dick Clark went hand in hand! Ryan Seacrest is everywhere, and while he may be a decent host, I always feel like they find annoying co-hosts to put with him. I don’t know who the gal was who co-hosted this year, but every time they cut to her, I felt like it I was dumber for having listened to her. I tried to watch Steve Harvey, who was also in Time Square, but everything seems forced with him. I found him even more annoying. Carson Daily was ok, but he was almost too relaxed. I bounced round and eventually stopped back on Seacrest for the ball drop. We kissed, and were probably in bed by 12:30am.

January 1, 2020

New Year’s Day, we met one of my oldest and dearest friends for lunch. Margaret and I have been friends since junior high. We are both Italian. My folks loved her, and her folks loved me. I think they probably both thought that we would date or something, but that never happened. We both went to a few dances together, but that was about as close to “dating” as it got. We were just really good friends and that made us both happy. We were officers in band together, we dressed up as twins for Twin Day, she and I both took a senior picture together, and spent many hours on the phone. She was/is one of my best friends!

When she had her daughter, Marissa, was born, she asked me to be her Godfather. I was honored to do it. When I got married the first time, sadly, I saw less and less of Margaret and my Goddaughter. Whenever I was supposed to get together with them, I was always informed that we couldn’t go or we had something to do with my exes family. After the divorce, Margaret was one of the first to reach out to me. She completely understood what was going on. I lost many years of our friendship, and I lost so many moments with my Goddaughter. After all of that, Margaret (and many other friends) had every right to just stop talking to me, but our friendship meant so much, that we have picked up where we left off.

When I attended my Goddaughter’s 21st birthday party, I pulled her aside and apologized for missing so many important things in her life. How do you explain that to someone? She didn’t bat an eye, told me she loved me and we all enjoyed a great evening! I remember driving home from her party crying my eyes out. It wasn’t fair to her that I missed so many things. It makes me angry to know that I missed so much, but I am also happy that I can try to make up for lost time with her!

We were going to see what Margaret and her husband, Walt, were doing on New Year’s Eve and found out she was working that night. So they met us at one of the nearby bars for lunch on New Year’s Day. It was a bit loud as the Michigan game was on. We enjoyed some amazing burgers, and enjoyed good conversation. There is always a lot of laughter when we get together, story telling with wild hand gestures (it is the Italian in us!) and usually some profanity! It was truly a wonderful afternoon. We hope to be able to do it more often!

During lunch, Margaret said something that struck a chord. It was something that made me sad, and happy at the same time. She said, “I have seen you more and talked to you more in the past two years, that the entire time you were married.” This made me sad, because of what I touched on early – a great friendship almost destroyed and the relationship between me and my Goddaughter all because of the stupidity of someone else. It made me happy to know that our friendship remains and will grow even stronger in the years ahead.

A few more things …

We spent the remainder of the week finishing up the nursery. My mother-in-law came over and helped paint. We had put a coat on the nursery and the hallway, but we needed another coat. We then had to touch up some spots and paint the door. We finished all of that today. Her room will have a book case, a glider, and, of course, her crib. My sister-in-law is bringing the crib this weekend.

Before I could build those things, there were a few other things we had on the agenda today. At 3pm, I picked the boys up for the weekend. I feel like it’s been forever since we saw them, especially when I got to see so little of them this month. For Christmas I had gotten them each a book from Barnes and Nobel – both of which were wrong. So we stopped at Barnes and Nobel to exchange them. Dante’ had also received a gift card from my aunt to B&N, so he got to look for a few things. In the end, they both got their books and were happy.

Hoping to see her

When we found out the gender of our baby, we went to a 3D ultrasound place. We were given a coupon to come back for a discounted rate to have another one done at 30 weeks. We came back and found that the baby was Frank breech and couldn’t really get any good pictures. So they rescheduled one for today. We left Barnes and Nobel and met Sam at the ultrasound place. The good news is that the baby had flipped out of the breech position. The bad news was that she was sleeping and not in a good place for us to see her. They gave Sam juice in hopes that the sugar would wake her up. She drank the juice and we even took a walk around outside. When we came back, we still couldn’t get a good picture of her face. They were, however, able to record her heartbeat for us.

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I thought Sam was going to throw up during it. The lady was really trying to get the baby to wake up. She kept rubbing Sam’s belly and poking and massaging her, but the baby would not move. We did get a semi-good profile shot. We also got to see that she has a lot of hair. We got a neat shot of her hand kind of making a fist, but NO good face picture. I admit, I was disappointed. I wanted to be able to take the 3D picture of her face and compare it with her birth picture like so many parents do, but I guess we just need to wait and see her beautiful face when she arrives.

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They did say that her head was moving down, a sign that the baby is getting ready to arrive. We saw on the internet that cats will tend to be more cuddly with a pregnant woman as the baby is nearing birth. Our one dumb cat has been VERY close to Sam lately, so maybe its happening sooner than we think….

We ordered a pizza for the boys and we all came home. I built the glider and book case and placed them in her room. It is all coming together, and it is getting more and more real as each day goes by.

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The paint is dry, but we want to wait a bit before putting up the wall decoration, which looks like this:

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Cute, huh? I love it!!!

Well, it is late and I need to be up to be on the radio tomorrow. I will wrap things up for now. Tomorrow will be another busy day! After the radio station, we have to go grocery shopping, make a few stops, build the crib and hopefully get a second to relax before heading back to work.

Oh, and somewhere over the next 24 hours, we need to find our book from our birthing class….because our “go bag” still looks like this:

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Happy New Year!

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Reflecting on 2019 …

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As the year draws to a close, I have pondered about what I wanted to write about.  Some of the blogs I follow have posted “Year End” Top Ten lists featuring their 10 most read blogs of the year.  Others have written rants about the old year, and posted resolutions for the new year.  Yet another blogger posted a 50 question “Year End Reflection” post, where he answered questions about the old year and the new year.

It is often very easy to diss on the year as it draws to a close.  I do it often.  In the last week or so I have heard so many people talk about how awful 2019 was and how they cannot wait for the new year, so they can start fresh.  I used to do that, too.  Granted, I know many people who truly have endured a very bad year.  I know too many people whose parents have passed away, gone through a divorce, survived terrible accidents, lost their jobs, and many other things.  I can totally understand how looking back can be difficult.

I think it is often easier to focus on the bad things, because those are the things that tend to stay with you.  Personally, I made a list of some things that I recalled from the past year that could go onto the “bad things” list.  I then decided to make a list of all the good things.  Jotting down things from memory, it was no surprise that the good list outnumbered the bad.  To further the point, I grabbed my phone and went back through a year’s worth of pictures and was reminded of many other things that happened, which all ended up on the “good things” list.

Quick Review of My Year

In January, Sam and I went to the Detroit Opera House with my dad, Rose, and my cousin Dianne to see The Phantom of the Opera.  I had never seen it before and I loved it.  Since Sam talked me into seeing Wicked last year, I have come to appreciate some of these wonderful productions.

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In March, Sam and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary with a trip to Cleveland.  Many joked about the fact that we went to Ohio, and I can see how that might be funny.  We really had a great time at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and a visit to The Christmas Story House.  As a bonus, we got to grab dinner with my brother while we were down there.

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April brought about a couple celebrations.  My son, Dante’ turned 17 and we had a small get together with his friends at our house.  It was quite a loud party with all of his friends there!  Then we celebrated Sam’s graduation on the west side of the state.  I still beam with pride at all she has accomplished!

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May was a busy month.  My nieces and nephew ran us ragged at Peppa Pig World, Dimitri was in good voice at his choir concert, and the boys and I went with my father-in-law, and brothers-in-law to the Three Stooges Festival in Redford.  I also celebrated another birthday, and Sam bought me the most amazing gift – a record player.  I have since enjoyed looking at used record stores for more vinyl to play on it.  That gift also led to Sam and I sharing our first dance together.

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Summer was very busy!  I got the chance to golf with my friends Matt and Shawn,  went to the zoo and the beach with the boys, went to carnivals, visited many ice cream places, played mini-golf, and had many bonfires!  In June, I spoke at a Sleep Conference in Detroit, we celebrated Dimitri’s Birthday,  Sam’s birthday, and she shared the news that we were expecting.  This is one of many favorite memories of the year!

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In July, we went to our OB/GYN and got the first glimpse of our baby.  At this point, we did not know the gender, and were calling her “Baby P”.  On August 30, we decided to go to a place near us that would be able to tell us the gender a bit earlier than our OB/GYN.  It was at this appointment that we found out we were having a girl.  This would be another of my favorite memories of the year.  In August, we also took Dante’ around town on the hottest day of the year to try to get some Senior pictures taken, and shared with my dad that he would soon be holding a granddaughter. It was also fun to have the boys go on a scavenger hunt to find out they were getting a sister!

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In September, I spent the day at a work conference called “The Power to Choose”, which was a truly wonderful experience.  There were many great speakers and I was so glad to be able to attend.  I walked away from this day with some great tools to use with patients and in life in general. On September 25, we got “official” confirmation from our OB/GYN, that Baby P was indeed a girl!

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My brother visited us in October, and Sam allowed me to take Baby Bump Picture #1.  Baby Bump Picture #2 came in November in front of the Christmas tree – a picture that I will treasure forever!  November was very busy as we were showered with love from family and friends at the baby shower.  We took our annual trip to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland and bought our yearly ornament for the Christmas tree.  We enjoyed the Christmas light display at the Detroit Zoo, and construction began on the baby’s bedroom/nursery.

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December brought my staff Christmas party, which was full of hearty laughter!  Sam and I attended our birthing classes, and I learned how to breathe (and hopefully not pass out).  We celebrated Christmas with the boys on Christmas Eve, spent time with Sam’s family Christmas Day, and celebrated with my dad and Rose over the weekend.  I have spent way too much time at work, due to where the holidays fell.  I have also been working some extra shifts at one radio station, and doing my normal shift at the other radio station.  In between all of that, we’ve been sanding and painting the new hallway and the baby’s room (only adding to the excitement of her arrival!).

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As I look back, I am inclined to quote Frank Sinatra and say “It was a VERY good year!” Have you taken the time to really look back at the things that happened over the last year?  One thing that I noticed about the “bad things” on my list was that I was surrounded by good friends, and family who helped me through those “bad” times.  That, in itself, takes a bad and makes it sort of good, right?

Frank Sinatra also sang, “Regrets?  I’ve had a few…”  One of the daily writing prompts for December asked “What is biggest regret of the past year?”  I would say stopping Weight Watchers.  I am in no way, shape, or form blaming Sam, but I gotta tell you…it’s hard to diet when you live with a pregnant person.  Yeah, I know, I should be able to control myself, but all too often, when I went out to get her something she was craving…I got something, too!  LOL.  I have already resolved to get “back on the wagon” after the first of the year!

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In closing, I hope that each one of my readers can look back over 2019, and find some really good times!  I hope you can recall happy memories.  I hope you can find the good that accompanied the bad.  I hope you can find the positives, and focus on those things.  2020 brings a new year, a new “book” if you will.  That “book” contains 365 pages and YOU are the author of each page.  I am looking forward to writing our books together.  Feel free to reach out if you ever need a friend – I am here!

May 2020 be a happy and healthy year!  May it be full of joy and happiness!  May it be full of friends and family!  May it be positively the best yet!

Thanks for reading!  Cheers!

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‘Twas a Blog Before Christmas

It feels like I haven’t blogged in forever.  Usually Christmas brings about many topics and many memories to write about and I felt like I had dropped the ball.  However, as I looked back over the last 7 blogs – 6 of the 7 were Christmas related, so I guess I’m not as “Grinchy” as I thought.

It’s been a busy week for me.  Last Monday, we had our company Christmas party.  This year the theme was “Hawaiian Christmas”.  I used to have a Hawaiian shirt, a few actually, but my ex hated them and made me donate them to good will.  I was telling Sam about the theme, and my mother in law told her she had a grass skirt, coconut bra, lei, and Hawaiian hat at her house.  I borrowed them for the party and wore them all – including the coconut bra (it’s always about getting a laugh!).  There’s a story behind it, which many of my coworkers know, but some do not, so I won’t tell it here…but one of our coworkers came dressed as Bernie from Weekend at Bernie’s!  This, in itself is hilarious, but factor in that the coworker who did it is female makes it even funnier!!

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One of the highlights of the get together over the past couple years has been the White Elephant gift exchange.  This always reminds me of that Christmas Episode of The Office where everyone has a specific person they are to buy for and then it becomes “Yankee Swap” with everyone getting gifts that were meant for someone else.  One of my favorite episodes of that show.

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With our party, everyone brings a gift.  Everyone choses a number and then gets to pick a gift.  No one unwraps them until the end.  A gift can be stolen three times.  This can be very misleading, as some of the biggest and prettiest gifts are often crap!  Last year, one coworker got a toilet seat and accessories (This year, he got a HUGE can of Bush’s Baked Beans!).  Another got bunny slippers made from tampons.  This year, I found a silly picture of my boss (Amy) from last year’s party.  I blew it up into an 11 x 14 picture and had a caption on it “Who needs an Elf on the Shelf?  You now have Amy in a Framey!”  Lots of laughs … and I wasn’t fired, so that’s good!

For the gift exchange, I got the LAST number!  Really, this is the worst because, all the gifts worth stealing have been stolen three times and not going anywhere!  As they got closer to my number, I kept looking to see what one I might want to steal.  When they finally got to my number, I was handed a gift.  I didn’t get to chose one.  I was like “What the hell?!? What if I didn’t want this one?!”  I was basically told that “this is the gift that you get!” Then, I opened it….

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My sneaky coworkers took up a collection and bought Sam and I stuff for the baby.  The basket included teethers, rattles, onesies, some very cute outfits (one will probably be the “take home” from the hospital outfit), and an Amazon gift card.  They knew we hadn’t received a mattress for the crib, and we are using the card to get one.  It was pretty overwhelming and they are lucky I held it together.  With as emotional as I have been lately, I could have easily cried at the party.  I work with some pretty amazing people!

Ultrasound

We had a coupon for a return visit to the place that did our gender reveal ultrasound.  It does 3D ultrasounds, so we can really see our baby’s face.  I was so excited to go in and see her!  We got there and found out that they had overbooked.  They were going to get us in, it was just going to be a bit.  When we finally got back, Sam got up on the table.  We saw the baby’s face briefly, and did get a picture of her.  We found out, however that the baby is breech.  Frank breech to be exact.  I had no idea that there were a few different “breeches”, but sure enough, there are!

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So, basically, she is sitting in Sam’s pelvis with her legs up in the air.  This made it difficult for them to get more pictures.  They suggested we go walk and see if the baby would move.  We went and had dinner and walked around the store.  When we returned and got back up on the table, it was even harder to get pictures.  We had to reschedule.  We’re going to go back right after the first of the year.  Sam said she hopes that she doesn’t come before then, as she’s starting to have cramping and contractions on occasion.  She isn’t due to arrive until February, so I’d like her to wait a few weeks.  Here is the picture we got to see.  I think she looks like Sam, but she thinks that she has my facial features.  One thing we did get to see was that she has hair.  We could see it floating on the ultrasound.  Pretty cool!  The excitement continues!!!

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I love that we can see her like this!!  It really is amazing!!

Writing Prompt Extras

I get a daily writing prompt in my email.  Many times I don’t feel like there is enough to write about in a full blog.  There were two this week that I felt I could write about, but only as an “extra” to a longer blog, or a blog full of random things (like this one).

Prompt #1

“Besides a family member, what is something that used to be a part of your holiday celebration that is missing today?”

Instant Egg Nog.  Really?!  Yes!  My brother and I recall this vividly!  My grandmother used to buy it in a pouch and make it for us every year.  It was VERY good.  I have looked for it every year, but simply cannot find it.  I recently came across a picture of the pouch and hoped that this would lead me to a website to buy it, but no such luck.

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I have always loved Egg Nog – the non-alcoholic stuff, anyway.  I never even knew that it was supposed to contain alcohol until just recently.  When you go to the store today, you can find various kinds of Egg Nog’s, and I have to admit, I really like the Custard Nog.  It has a very unique flavor to it.  Please let me know if you ever see this instant stuff in a pouch, though!

Prompt #2

“What is the oldest Christmas Ornament on your Christmas Tree?”

I actually mention the ornament in the blog I wrote about Christmas Trees.  When I was a 6 year old boy, I was going to catechism for church.  They gave us all this baby Jesus ornament.  My mom always hung it on the tree, and it eventually went with me when I moved out. The ornament get’s hung every year on the tree.  I remember asking Sam if I could hang it when I moved in.  It really doesn’t fit with any of the ornaments that she has, but she lets me hang it up there every year.  The ornament is 43 years old.  One day, I hope it will get passed down to one of my children, and then one of their children.

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Good Grief

In between working my real job, filling in at the radio station, and working on the baby’s room, I finally got 30 minutes to sit down and watch a Charlie Brown Christmas. It is one of many Christmas specials I have to watch every year.  Every time I hear Sally say, “Will you please write a letter to Santa Claus for me?” I chuckle.  They had to feed so many of the child actors their lines a few words at a time and then piece it together to form a sentence.  You can really hear it in that line.  I love it!

I don’t care how many times I see it, I still love when Linus starts quoting the Bible and tells the Christmas story only to walk over to Charlie Brown and say, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

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One of my favorite Charlie Brown quotes:

“It’s not what’s under the Christmas tree that matters, it’s who’s around it.”

After work tonight, I will go home to sleep.  I am excited because I get to have my sons tomorrow.  Christmas Eve was always when we celebrated with my dad’s family, and it is when I get to celebrate with them.  Christmas Eve morning is our Christmas.  I can’t wait to pass out their presents and celebrate with them.  My grandmother always made ravioli, and I plan on doing the same.  My work schedule has prevented me from seeing them much this month, so I am extra excited to have the day with them.

Because I will be focused on my sons, and my family, I may not get the chance to blog before Christmas.  I hope that you have a wonderful holiday season and that you are surrounded by friends and family.  Whether you are celebrating, Christmas, Hanukkah, Festivus, or another holiday, I hope that your holiday is full of joy and that you make happy memories!  Thanks for reading!  Merry Christmas!

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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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Little Bits of This and That…

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One of the blogs that I follow said that the best way to get more followers is to blog everyday.  I get daily writing prompts, and some of them have led to decent blogs, but in all honesty, most of the prompts don’t “move me” to write.  Sure, I’d like to write every day, but I feel like I should have something to blog about, you know? I have some stuff in the “to write” files, but I wanted to think a bit more on them.  So I went back through the things I wrote down in my notebook, and decided that I could write a blog about some of the little things that happened this week.

Second Ultrasound

Sam is officially 12 weeks pregnant now.  We had a second ultrasound and it’s amazing how much the baby changed in a week.  In the first one, the baby looked like a little peanut.  A week later, we could see a baby.  Baby P, as we have been calling her/him, was very active that day. We actually could see the arms moving around and they were able to snap another picture.

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We have decided that we are going to find out the baby’s gender and are looking forward to the next ultrasound.  We’re going to do one of those 3D ones.  We are counting down the days until we get to see Baby P again.  Once we find out the gender, we will be sharing that, but the names are something that we will be keeping to ourselves until the baby is born.

Ratings

So last Friday, the radio ratings book came out.  It is the results of radio surveys of listeners in the market.  I have been doing the Saturday weekend shift at the Moose since the book started.  The 12+ numbers are the ones that kind of encompass the whole audience.  It is the entire group (male and female) 12 years old and up.  There are other breakdowns (Women 25-54, Men 25-54, etc…) and some formats care more about female numbers and others care more about male numbers.  Country tends to care about female numbers, while rock tends to lean more male numbers (because of advertisers).

At any rate, I got a text message from my boss on Monday:

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Even though I am only on once a week, it is nice to know that people are listening and made me #1 in my time slot.  Thanks, Mid-Michigan!

Radio Hijinks

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As a part timer, sometimes you walk into the on air studio and find remnants from whatever went on during the week.  Many times it makes me wish I was back on full time, because I truly miss all the silly stuff that happens throughout the week.  One day I walked into the studio and there was a piece of scrap paper that read, “Stop farting!” Obviously a note from one host to another while the microphone was live.

This week I went in and found this:

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Perhaps “little ears” were outside the studio?

At my other station, the morning show co-host compiled a list of “Demerits” for each staff member.  I am unaware of what lead to this, but she put them up on the grease board in the studio.  Our boss got demerits for not showing up for work (he’s on vacation), she gave herself demerits for being a “clown lover”, the mid-day guy got demerits for always “asking what time it is”, and when I walked in and saw mine – I laughed out loud:

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Yes, I did.  I wanted to write underneath, and clarify that it was my wife, when something funnier came to mind.   We are a radio station after all, so I thought it’d be funnier to write this:

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Our morning show celebrated 15 years together as a team this week.  They went on the air in 2004 (Believe me, this is a big deal in radio!  It is rare for DJ’s to be at the same station for that long!).  I wanted to promote the fact that their anniversary was Monday, so I looked back at the year 2004 to see what was going on.  In August of 2004, the Summer Olympics were going on in Athens, Greece.  So I wrote this line:

“It’s hard to believe that Jim and Jodi have been together for 15 years!  When they went on the air 15 years ago, in Athens, Greece, they were throwing around the discus at the Summer Olympics.  15 years later, Jim is throwing out the discuses (sic) in his back!”

Stan Freberg

The great Stan Freberg would have been 93 this week.  What an amazing talent!  He did voice work for cartoons (Pete Puma, and many others), had a weekly radio show, released many parody/satirical songs, was a very successful advertising man, appeared on TV and in the movies, and wrote books.

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Some of my favorite Freberg tracks include his Dragnet stuff (which he got Jack Webb’s band to do on each track – St. George and the Dragonet, Little Blue Riding Hood, and Christmas Dragnet), Heartbreak Hotel, Green Chri$tma$, Banana Boat, and Wunnerful, Wunnerful.  Until I read his book, I had no idea how many voices he did for cartoons.  He sings the story of the 3 Little Pigs in one of my favorite cartoons (I could not find the full cartoon, but here is the audio of it) with Shorty Rogers – The Three Little Bops.

The C Pillow

As mentioned earlier in this blog, my wife is pregnant.  Anyone knows that with pregnancy comes the challenge of getting comfortable.  Whether someone told her about this thing, or whether she saw it online, she ordered herself the “C Pillow.”  It is a HUGE pillow that she can lay on/in to be comfortable in bed.

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I am all for my wife being comfortable, and as the pregnancy gets further and further along, I am sure that this will be very helpful to her.  Right now, personally, I hate it.  This thing takes up so much room on the bed, but that is not why I hate it.  I hate it because if it is on the bed, it is very hard to hold my wife.  I know, I am being selfish.  I love holding my wife when we sleep.  I have gotten to where it is hard to sleep without her.  This pillow has taken up temporary residence in our bed, and it bothers me a bit.

Monday night I was called off work.  I tried to stay up all night in order to keep on my midnight schedule.  I made it to about 5a, (usually I go to bed around 9a), and fell asleep.  When I fall asleep to early, it really messes with the following night.  It was about 1pm when I woke up and couldn’t fall back to sleep.  I got up and grabbed my book and went out to the couch to read after laying in bed for an hour and a half.

While I was out there, I heard Sam get up.  She came out to the living room and asked why I was up.  I told her I couldn’t sleep.  She asked if I would come back into bed and just hold her.  I put my right arm under her neck and pulled her close to me.  She laid her head on my shoulder and I put my other arm around her.  I cannot begin to explain how amazing this was.  Holding her close, listening to her breathing, kissing her forehead, and just thinking about what a lucky man I am.  I held her close and fell deeper and deeper in love with her.  Oh, and I was loving the fact that the stupid C Pillow was on the floor!

My pick for this week’s funniest picture on the internet

I really need to write a review on Napoleon Dynamite.  It is truly one of the strangest movies I have ever seen, and to date, it is the only movie I watched immediately after watching it for the first time – because I wasn’t sure what I had just seen!  If you have seen the movie, this should give you a chuckle.

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I Believe in Miracles …

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So, this is a blog that I have wanted to write since June 15th.  Having something to say and not being able to say it, is annoying and very difficult.  As someone who used to look for things in daily life to share every day on the radio, having something that you need to “hold on to” for awhile is just frustrating.  You watch every word that comes out of your mouth, you can’t let anything slip, etc.  It’s like being the person who is delegated to drive the guest of honor to their surprise party! It has been driving me crazy!

Well, last night, I brought the guest to their party.  To use a VERY old cliche’, the cat is now out of the bag and I can finally share it.  Let me take you back to June 15th….(insert the “flashback harps” sound effect here):

June 15 (The Day Before Father’s Day)

On Saturdays I am up early so I can get to the radio station to be on the air from 9a-2p.  My wife, Sam, had been feeling kinda sick in the days leading up to the weekend.  It was my weekend without my sons, but because Sunday was Father’s Day, I would be getting them the next day.  We had planned to spend the evening out together.  Before I left, she again told me that she was not feeling all that great, and I told her that we could just spend time at home and not have to worry about going out anywhere.  I told her to get some rest and I would see her after the show.

I hadn’t been on the air that long, and Sam said she was going to come up to the station.  She told me that she couldn’t sleep and wanted to come up.  This is not unusual, as she has come and spent the day with me in the past.  When I left for work earlier, I told her I grabbed something small for lunch, so in all honesty, I thought she was going to bring me lunch.  She stated that she had to make a stop on the way, and after she showered, she’d be there.  I asked where she was going and she told me, “Walmart.” I asked her what she needed from there, because we had already shopped the day before.  “I need to pick up a couple things,” she told me.

She called me when she got close to the station and told me she needed a hand bringing something in (lunch, I assumed – cause, you know, everything revolves around food!).  She asked how long I had before I had to talk on the air.  I told her that I had a quick break and then had about 6 minutes before I had to talk again.  I saw her pull into the parking lot from the studio window and did my break on the air.  I walked out to her car and she handed me what looked like a cake box, telling me to be careful with it.

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I asked her why she brought me a cake, after all, I am dieting and I know that cake is not exactly what I should be eating on Weight Watchers.  She said not to drop it or I’d “mess it up” (frosting everywhere, I thought).  So I took the box and we walked back into the building.  When we were walking, she asked how long before I had to talk on the air and by this time it was about 2 minutes.  She told me to wait until after I talked to open the box.

So as the song faded, I turned on the microphone, did a very entertaining break on the air, turned the microphone off, turned to Sam and said, “Can I look at my cake now?”  When I opened the box, I looked inside and was overcome with emotions immediately.  I now understood why she hadn’t been feeling well….

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I must have looked at the contents of this box for 30 seconds before it all really sunk in.  I looked up, in tears (I am not afraid to admit I cried), and said, “Really?!”  Like a 5 year old, I began to jump up and down and then I grabbed her and kissed her and hugged her for a very long time.  I remember looking into her eyes and just being overwhelmed with joy.  This was something that I had not expected at all.  This was a whole new level of happiness.

Sam looked at me and said, she wished that she had got my reaction on video, but she knew if she had her phone out, she knew that I would have known she was up to something.  She’s probably right, I would have probably ruined the moment by questioning her.  As cool as it would have been to share my reaction as a video, I am glad that it was a moment that was shared between us.

I then asked why there were two pregnancy tests.  Sam said that as she read the instructions on the box, it said that it would take 3 to 4 minutes for the test to give the results.  She said that the first test read “pregnant” almost immediately … so “it had to be wrong”.  So she went to Rite Aid, bought a second test, and got the same results!  The rest of the items in the box, were what she stopped at Walmart for.  She wanted to be sure she told me in a way that I would never forget.  She did.  What an amazing Father’s Day present it was to find out that I am once again going to be a father!

Later that night

After the show, we drove down to see my Dad and Rose, since I wasn’t going to be able to see him on Father’s Day.  On the way down, Sam asked if I was going to tell my dad.  I told her that we should probably wait a bit.  As we sat there at his kitchen table drinking coffee and chatting, my phone “dinged” that I had a text message.  I looked at it, and it was from Sam (who was literally sitting right next to me!) that said, “Just tell your dad!”

My dad does not like getting gifts.  He’s always been the “if I need it, I’ll buy it” kind of guy.  I brought him over a Father’s Day card, and that will even bring about the “you didn’t have to buy me anything” comment.  So, I told him we had a “gift” for him and told him “We want you to know that you’re going to be a grandpa again.”  (If we had planned it, we probably could have done something cool to tell him, but since it was spur of the moment, this was the best I could do).  It almost scared me the way my dad jumped – ok, leaped – out of his chair and hugged me!  He was so excited.  As he hugged me, I could see Rose across the table clapping her hands quickly and then grabbing Sam to hug her.  They were SO happy.  Just another “perfect” moment to wrap a perfect day.

Oh, and my dad being my dad, said, “I hope it’s a girl!” which made me laugh hard!  He went on to explain, “You know I love my grandsons!  I’ve just never had a granddaughter.”  He didn’t have to explain, I knew why he said it.  Before my son’s were born, my mom had always hoped for a granddaughter.  My dad never said what he hoped it was, “just as long as the baby is healthy” was his response.  I think he was a bit like me – wanting a boy to carry on the name, and a girl to dance with.  I think he’s ready to spoil a granddaughter.

Waiting to tell…

Naturally, it was hard NOT to tell everyone.  There were a few people who were privy to the news.  Sam’s folks knew, siblings, and some close friends.  We had a situation come up where we had to tell the boys a little earlier than we had planned.  We had hoped to tell them a little differently than we did, but that didn’t happen.  Needless to say, they were both very surprised.  Dimitri was happy because he was “no longer the youngest.”  Dante’ said he was happy, too.  Even now, they are still asking questions.  Today, Dante’ asked if I wanted a boy or a girl.  We’re going to ask them to see what name suggestions they might have – they may have more than us!

The Ultrasound

We’ve been counting down the days to the ultrasound, which we finally had done on Wednesday.  Our doc called it the “fun” ultrasound.  This was not the “official” ultrasound, and it was just to “get a look” and “hear the heartbeat.”

I’m not sure why this process always makes me nervous.  We sat in the room and waited for the doctor to come in.  Time moves slow as you wait.  I could feel myself getting anxious.  I found myself saying little prayers off and on as I waited.  The doc came in and asked us a bunch of questions.  He finally grabbed the gel and prepared to show us our baby.  He placed the wand on Sam’s belly and moved it around……and around ….. and around…. and we saw ….. NOTHING.  Gotta tell you, I was freaking out (Sam said she was, too, when we got in the car!).

Then the doc made a comment that the ultrasound tech who used the machine last always “screws up these damn settings” and told us to hold on a sec.  He adjusted some knobs and then moved the wand around again, and there was our little “Baby P.” (Sam has called the baby that since we found out – Baby Pizzo)  The doc said that the baby was really moving around and was having a hard time getting a good picture.

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After the doc captured the baby, he typed “Hi Mom and Dad” on the screen and let us hear the heartbeat.  It was a perfect 160.  What an amazing sound!  I don’t care how many times I hear that, it is one of the most emotional and wonderful sounds!  Unlike at the radio station, I was able to hold back tears as I listened to our baby’s heartbeat.  It became very real, very fast.

I was just as emotional with my two sons, but this one is truly a miracle.  Let me explain.  Not too long ago, I had the need to see a urologist.  Some tests were run and we were basically told that our chances of ever getting pregnant was about 4%.  As a man, this is not something you feel all that great about.  As a matter of fact, you feel really incapable and inadequate.  You can only imagine how surprised we were to find out that we are going to have a baby.  It really is a miracle!

There is a pretty amazing quote that says, “Where there is great love, there are always miracles.”  We are SO excited and are looking forward to the months ahead as we await the arrival of our miracle. In the time ahead, we will begin planning on creating the registry for the baby shower, highlighting name possibilities in the “baby name” book, building cribs and swings, stocking up on diapers, and watching Sam’s belly grow.  I am a bit out of practice, but I will make sure to have my “Italian” lullaby songs memorized so I can sing the baby to sleep.

A friend of mine texted today, after Sam shared our news on Facebook, and said, “Dude! Congratulations!  You know you are starting all over again, right!?”  Yes.  Yes, I am.  It’s kind of like re-reading a book you love, or re-watching a movie or TV show you love.  I enjoyed this ride before, and I am going to enjoy it all over again!

This news is proof that you should NEVER give up because you truly do not know what lies ahead.  A few years ago, I was at the end of my rope.  My life was dismal.  I almost called it quits – permanently.  Thank God, I didn’t!  Look where I am now!!  I have found true love.  I married my best friend and soul mate.  We have found happiness and overwhelming joy together and NOW are adding a child, who we love unconditionally without even having seen their face!  WOW!

Let me end with one final quote:  Jon Bon Jovi says, “Miracles happen every day.  Change your perception of what a miracle is, and you’ll see them all around you.”  Our baby is a miracle – and my life is a miracle!”

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