30 April 2012

Question of the Day #4

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Why is it that a child will eat dirt, crayons, dog food and anything else he can get ahold of, but turn up his nose at good, home cooked food?

?

27 April 2012

Ah, Consciousness...How I Miss Thee!

As I rode in the car, as a passenger (oh, the indignity), trying to explain to the Princess for the fortieth time why exactly Mommy was making Daddy go to the hospital, I remember thinking, the next time I get dizzy from coughing I'm gonna keep my mouth shut. Or at least that's what I had intended to be thinking. What actually passed through my head was something more akin to, "The next time I ge.............Why is she screaming at me and shaking my shoulder, doesn't she know she's driving?" Yep. I spent today passing out. Or at least a few hours of it. The rest of the time, I've been high on codiene and focusing very, very hard on not coughing. Ah, consciousness. Who knew you could be blasted away by a cough.

The day started out well. I was toodling around the house, clearing up my todo list, shaking off a bad bout of sinus infection. Or was I? I had a lingering cough, but no big deal, right. Oh my. I started coughing right before lunch and suddenly got dizzy. Sweetheart saw and asked. I couldn't lie. And then I started feeling really strange. Kind of disconnected. Next thing I know, I'm passing out in the car.

I now have the misfortune of knowing what a vasovagal response is, and how easily it can be triggered. I also know that if you're walking into an emergency room and you start coughing, then collapse into a pile of loose fat, you get to pee in a bottle in your hospital bed. Because they won't let your feet touch the floor again until you are off their property. I had a pretty little bracelet that said "FALL RISK" and they wouldn't let me even sit up on my own. You know how hard it is to lay in bed and pee in a jug? Imagine if your wife is standing there cheering you on while your daughter is pouting because she can't watch and your son is pulling the curtain open any time he hears someone walk by. Oh, it doesn't work, let me tell ya! I had to send the family away and appeal to the manly sympathy of a passing male nurse to be allowed some dignity. He snuck the rail down and let me throw my legs over so I could at least sit up a little and see the danged jug!

What a day! Sweetheart said I passed out about twenty times in just a couple of hours. It's a very unpleasant experience. And, of course, the CT scan, X-rays, ECGs and bloodwork weren't all that pleasant either. Come to find out I have bronchitis and for some unknown reason, my coughing has begun triggering a vasovagal response. So I cough, I hit the floor.

Hmm? Anyone know where I can buy cough syrup by the gallon?

Sacrifices & Memories

Today, Sweetheart and I spent most of the day at Eyemasters getting our eyeglasses replaced. We also had to replace my little Princess', since her prescription changed after only six months. Princess loved it! She was so excited. She was jumping up and down and running around putting on glasses so fast they weren't even on her face all the way before the next pair took their place. It was all Sweetheart and I could do to keep up with her. Especially since Little Man was a wee bit tired and cranky.

By the time we finally got it done and made it home with a take out dinner, I collapsed into my chair while my love got out plates and started sorting out the food. As I sat there catching my breath and preparing to bless the meal, it occurred to me how amazing this day had been.

My Mama once told me that her job was to make sure my life was better than hers. Not easier, mind you. Better. There's a distinct difference. We're not here to spoil our kids and make their lives easy. We're her to enrich their lives. To train them up in ways that will carry them through all their days.

Mama never would have been able to buy three pairs of designer glasses with ultra thin Transition lenses and, of course, pretty purple flowers on the smallest pair. She had to buy the simplest, thickest ones she could afford for me. And she just skipped hers. She tried to give me every opportunity she could. She worked outrageous hours trying to keep food on the table, but she made sure that I was kept occupied and stimulated by enrolling me in gifted programs and giving me all the books I could ever hope for. She instilled in me my love for reading. She figured out ways to help me with my homework (even though, as she pointed out, she had very little education) and developed in me problem-solving techniques and a love of challenge.

To do all this, she worked so many hours that to see her I had to go to her job. Then she was disabled in an accident and was finally able to be home and enjoy the fruits of her labor. Well, as much as you can enjoy anything through extreme, constant pain. But she almost never mentioned the pain. She didn't complain about her situation. She enjoyed the time to focus on her family instead. She took me on trips around Texas, showing me my family's history. She took her grandkids, so their parents could have breaks. She made crafts and dolls and toys for the kids and grandkids, and later, as she lay dying of cancer in the hospital, for the new babies being born in the maternity wing. Mama wasn't a saint, but she was a very good Mama, whom I miss more with every passing year. I think of all the sacrifices she made to give me the freedom to learn and grow, and I'm humbled. I strive every day to make her proud.

My wife's parents were the same way. Sweetheart tells stories about how her Mom stretched an almost nonexistent food budget farther than it should have been able to stretch. Of how her Dad refused to spend money on doctors for himself because it would have meant his kids couldn't have health care if they got sick. And of how he would push through even to the point where he was finally found unconscious at work because he had refused to get treatment for a wound that got infected, because his family needed the money instead. So the kids never felt that they were poor, Mom would make special days of shopping to the Goodwill store or garage sales to buy clothes and wear her own till they fell apart. She created traditions around holidays and birthdays that would not only bind the family together, but make each child feel special at the same time. In a family with four kids, that's not always possible, but she did a great job of it.

And of course, with all four kids and both parents in glasses, eye care costs required enormous sacrifices. Mom and Dad would go years without getting new glasses, to the point that Mom got to where it wasn't safe for her to drive because she could no longer see well enough. My Sweetheart has some outrageously bad eyes. Even today, her contacts and glasses are so expensive we can't help but gasp when the bill comes in. But Mom and Dad kept her in up to date prescriptions no matter what.

Sacrifice. It's in our job description as parents. Our job is to give our kids the best possible chance at a better life than ours. Thanks to the sacrifices of our parents, the sacrifices Sweetheart and I have to make pale in comparison. All of our parents set us on the road pretty well prepared for our own trip into parenthood.

I know this has been a mushy post, but some time that's the only way it can be. Thanks Mama and thanks Mom and thanks Dad for sacrificing so much to make our lives better. We promise to do our best to pass it on.

23 April 2012

My Dog is a Psychological Mastermind

Yes, you read that right. My dog is, indeed, a psychological mastermind.

I came to this realization last night as Sweetheart was making up the coffee pot and I was trying to coax the Furball out the door to do his nightly business. I was at the door, calling, reasoning, threatening and begging the dog to go pee outside. As he slowly stretched himself up from the cozy spot he's carved out for himself at the foot of the stairs where he not so patiently waits for us to go to bed, I noticed that his new and expensive grain-free food is essentially untouched in his bowl. The grain-free bit was Sweetheart's idea, not mine. I know my dog. He likes red meat, white meat and bread. Any kind of bread. Yeast breads, quick breads - it doesn't matter, as long as it's made of wheat. Grain-free. Good grief! The only time that dog runs is when he hears me get out the grain mill to grind some fresh wheat up for baking bread. It's his biweekly exercise. Kind of sounds like an earthquake as he runs down the stairs and through the kitchen to my feet, huffing all the while. I can almost hear him trying to reach out with his thoughts and hypnotize me in the goofy little voice I imagine he has. As he reaches my feet and sits there, huffing and shaking with excitement and anticipation, I sense him trying to say, "Daddy, this is the day you make a loaf just for me. A big loaf, Daddy. A fluffy loaf. You know no one else loves your bread more than me, Daddy." He does the same thing when I'm slicing bread, except that he moves faster and shakes more frantically.

So anyway, as I stand there last night trying to get him outside, I notice his food, and mention it to Sweetheart, who promptly declares Furball is stupid. Why else would he reject premium, grain-free food? And why else would we be able to actually step on his feet when we turn around and stumble over him? And why would he chew up all the comfy, fluffy beds and blankets she bought him?

Umm, because he's a genius? As she laughs, I know fear, as the truth finally hits me. My dog is a diabolical puppetmaster, carefully orchestrating the daily life of my family to ensure his total comfort and control.

Why would he reject his food? So we feel sorry for him and give him bread, woman! And why would he need dog food, when the boy shares every bite with him? And of course, the girl begs repeatedly during the day to give him treats. He has no need for mere dog food!

And how are we able to step on his paws when we stumble over him? Think about it, Sweetheart. The only time we stumble on the dog is when we're carrying food. And if we think we hurt him, we're more likely to give him our snack. Sheer genius, I tell you!

And why would he chew up all those beds and blankets? Elementary, my dear! He didn't like them. The dog has a pinched nerve. He wants a comfy firm mattress. So he chewed up everything until we bought him the right one. Now he has his comfy bed with its built in backrest and pillows and space under the mattress to store his collection of stolen socks. He managed the entire affair.

Stupid? Of, I don't think so.

He "pinched a nerve" a couple of years ago. The vet said any time he looks to be in pain, give him a pain pill. Yes, you guessed. Furball has turned my wife and I into his personal drug mules to feed his habit. Any time the day has been too rough, he looks up at us and starts huffing and drooling...and gets his pill. I wonder if we can do a doggy intervention?

As I was explaining this all to my wife last night and wondering how her eyes can stay in the socket when they roll that hard, the Furball knocked on the door to come in, and looked up at me with a disapproving look, as if to say, "Daddy, I heard you. Bad boy, Daddy."


He then plopped down at my feet with his tail towards me and began huffing and shaking in feigned indignation while staring at my wife. I knew it had worked when she declared, "No, he's just stupid!" The dog slowly looked over his shoulder at me and grinned in satisfaction, as I suddenly got the urge to bake biscuits for him. Diabolical!


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Waiting for Mommy


Mommy's in her office upstairs but we know if we wait here by this gate she'll feel it and come down for a hug.

22 April 2012

Why Do I Enjoy Baking?

My cousin has been taking a wonderful nostalgia trip on Facebook. I love reading her posts and drifting along the river of memories with her. She really paints a vivid picture and is great at bringing back memories of days gone by. I, on the other hand, have a very poor memory. Most folks can give you incredible detail about their life. Not me. My memory has never worked quite right. It saddens me at times, but it is what it is. As a result, I find myself hanging onto the memories I do have. And it's amazing how intense they can be when triggered. And it's interesting how many of them are triggered by music and aromas.

For instance, my Mama enjoyed the smell of vanilla. She would burn vanilla scented candle throughout the house. To this day, the scent of vanilla as I bake brings up pleasant memories of Mama. I've found myself introducing my Mama to my daughter as I bake. I'll tell her how my Mama made such rich, buttery sugar cookies and soft, chewy molasses cookies. Or tell her how Mama made dozens and dozens of sugar cookies every Christmas and let us kids decorate them. And her bread! Oh my, Mama could make some good bread. Slather some butter on a thick slice and you have a great comfort snack.

And I think that's why I enjoy baking so much. It's a way of connecting with my family, past and present. As I make my own bread, I can see Mama in the kitchen, listening to golden oldies and kneading the dough. My style is different, and so is the end product, but the connection is still their. As soon as I take out the wheat grinder or the stand mixer, my Princess comes running into the kitchen. She's my big helper. She makes sure I don't forget anything. Some mornings, as I'm stumbling around trying to finish a cup of coffee and gather up the ingredients for biscuits or pancakes, Princess is right behind me telling me what I need to get next. Then she goes and gets her ladder and sets it up in the corner by my work counter, where she can be ready to scrape the butter into the bowl and then pour in the milk. I couldn't do it without her. And of course, she taste tests everything to make sure I have it right. Well, except for the carrot cake I tried out last weekend. After it was baked, she agreed with Sweetheart that it was the best carrot cake she ever had, but when it was just batter, she said, "Oooh, it's slimy!" I must admit, it was the nastiest looking cake batter I've ever seen, but it made a darn good cake!

There's a connection to baking through my wife, as well. When we started planning how to handle birthdays, she got this light in her eyes and told me how her Mom had baked all of their birthday cakes. Nothing fancy, just a box mix and frosting, but SHE made those cakes, and to this day it's one of Sweetheart's fondest memories. So I set the goal of baking all of the celebration cakes for my family. Everything from Jesus' birthday cake to anniversaries. In just a couple of years, it's become our tradition. And that makes me feel very good. Our family is young, but it's tied together with traditions created in love.

Love and food. Mmmm. And that's why I enjoy baking so much.

And that's also why Sweetheart has me on a diet.

Sandwich Bread

My family goes through alot of bread. I bake four loaves a week, and the kids are only preschoolers. I think that means I'll be baking 20 -30 a week when they become teenagers. Maybe I'll open a bakery. I must admit, it's a source of pride for me. If Daddy doesn't bake it, they refuse to eat it. Tickles me. So I keep baking. Once I started, I just couldn't stop, and baking has become a truly relaxing and enjoyable hobby. I get a kick out of figuring out how to create something my family will enjoy. For sandwich bread, I credit Jo-Lynne Shane at Musings of a Housewife for the basic recipe. Thankfully, I don't have to bake four loaves at a time, yet, so I cut it down and adapted it to our tastes a bit. So here is my bread recipe:

Sandwich Bread

I use my KitchenAid stand mixer, and Jo-Lynn has a great series of step by step photos to follow on her blog.

In the mixer bowl, mix
  • 3 cups of whole wheat flour (I grind mine fresh and prefer hard white winter wheat)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of active dry yeast
Mix the dry ingredients for about 15 seconds.

In a microwaveable container, melt 1/4 cup of butter, then add 2 1/4 cups of water and 1/3 cup of honey and bring the mixture to about 110°F.

While stirring the dry mix with the dough hook, pour in the wet in a steady stream and mix for a few seconds, scraping the sides as needed.

Next, I add 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten (my family likes it for texture) and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour. I stir it until it's combines, then add about 2 cups of all purpose flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well between each addition, until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl - generally about two minutes.

At this point, the dough is almost ready. Knead it on speed two for about two more minutes, adding whole wheat flour a tablespoon or so at a time, until the dough is no longer sticky to the touch but not dry.

Next, dump the dough onto a plate and butter the inside of the mixing bowl. Put the dough back in the bowl and spin it to make sure it's all buttered. My oven goes as low as 170, so I let it preheat to that before I start my dough and then turn it off. By the time the dough is ready, so is the oven. I cover the dough with a cloth and leave it to rise in the oven til it's about doubled in size. I live in the Metroplex, and the varying humidity makes timing dough rises impossible. Go by sight. For me, it's generally one to two hours.

Once it's double, dump it onto a lightly floured surface (or my trusty new pastry mat, which I absolutely love!) and punch it down. Divide it into two lumps and shape each into a tight roll. Place each loaf into a buttered bread pan and put them bake into their rising spot, covered, until they reach the point at which you want to bake them. This is a personal preference, and for me, takes about another hour. I like them to be about 2 inches over the top of the pan.

Bake them in a preheated oven at 350°F for 30 minutes and let them cool on wire racks.

The hard part is keeping them whole until they cool. In fact, I was going to take a picture of the loaf I made yesterday, and this was all that's left. It goes quick!


As soon as he hears the mixer start up, the Furball hustles to his place under my feet where he gives me puppy dog eyes until I let him have the heel of the most recent loaf. That dog is addicted to my baking. Of course, I'm the one who makes him his own bone shaped biscuits, so I guess I can't say it's entirely his fault. He's so sad here lately, since Sweetheart put him on a diet and told me I can't give him bread anymore.

Of course, he still has the boy, who shares no matter what.

21 April 2012

Shhh...Man Confession

I learned an important lesson last night, and it's forcing me to eat some crow. I learned to always trust me wife's instincts. Sounds simple, doesn't it? Not quite. Here's what happened.

Sweetheart took the kids on a pizza run around 5 o'clock. I was at home enjoying some peace and quiet. Well, my sinus flare had been getting worse. I started to walk into the bathroom and remember passing the kitchen table. Next thing I remember was standing by the table, holding on to the counter, trying to figure out why my hand hurt and what just happened. I had apparently blacked out and in reaching for a chair to brace myself, pinned my hand between the chair and the wall as I went down. That threw me a bit, so I figured the couch would be a good idea. About 30 minutes later, I had almost managed to convince myself nothing had happened when Sweetheart called. The batteries in the garage opener were dead and she needed me to open it up. No problem. I clearly remember walking the few feet to the door from the living room to the garage. That's it. I have no idea how I ended up in the doorway, half into the garage on the floor. That's where I came to five minutes later when I heard Sweetheart come in the front door. That freaked me out.

But, I'm a man. I wasn't going to make a big deal out of it. We ate supper and were relaxing on the couch as Sweetheart kept trying to convince me to go to the ER. Granted, I've never blacked out like that from coughing, and I was a bit shaken. But nope. There's no way I was going to the ER and being poked and prodded by some overworked doctor who would tell me he didn't know why I blacked out but its probably because I'm fat. I have bad memories of ER doctors. And I don't like paying the drastically inflated bills hospitals love to send. We got a bill for almost $800 for Princess to get six stitches!

Nope no ER! I'm fi...
...
...
"Honey, Honey!"

Yep.

Blacked out sitting on the couch next to Sweetheart while we were talking. At this point I figure, okay, maybe I need to go to bed and take some cough medicine. So I head upstairs and Sweetheart gets the kids ready for bed. I text my Sister, the redneck nurse who can always be counted on to tell me I'm making to big a deal about something. Figure she'll tell me to go to bed and I'll be able to get Sweetheart to promise not to call 911. Of course not! She tells me my wife is right and I need to go to the ER quickly.

Women!

Ok. So I compromise. That's good, right? I'll go to CareNow. Its urgent care, it's open, let's go. To see the female doctor who politely tells me I'm an idiot for not listening to my wife and I should be at the ER. But, since I was stupid enough to be in her clinic instead, she would do what she could to help with the frequently expressed admonishment that I MUST go to the ER if I blacked out again.
I surrender. I will take my medicine. I will admit, globally, that I was wrong, and my wife was right. As she pointed out (several times), if the situation was reversed, I wouldn't have listened to arguing. I would have just taken her to the ER. But I was stupid, and decided to try to tough it out. I ignored the good advice of my helpmate.

So Sweetheart, please forgive me for not trusting your instincts. And thank you for being such a phenomenal wife.

And thank you to my dear Sis, for reaching out on her vacation to answer calls for advice.

Thought for the Day #3

I'm not sure which fact is more disturbing to me: the fact that I blacked out numerous times tonight coughing so hard from this sinus infection, or the fact that I'm lying in bed sick at 3am with the theme song of Doc McStuffins running through my head.

20 April 2012

Here's to a Better Day

Well, after the chaos of yesterday, I was concerned for today. Especially since last night was a really bad night. The whole family was hit yesterday by a good ole Texas style allergy flare-up. The house was full of the noise of coughing and sneezing and blowing noses. Even Furball was snoring. And when Sweetheart fell asleep, well let's just say I'm sure grateful for earplugs.

The only one who slept peacefully through the night was Princess, who woke up in a wonderful mood and tip-toed into our room to wake me up with a near heart attack inducing "Wakey Wakey!!" Got my blood pumping real good! She's ready to start earning her toys back.

On the other hand, Little Man had a miserable night and has been hollerin' and fussin' since he woke up. He's rolling on the floor crying. I thought girls were supposed to be the master manipulators. Or is that children in general? Oh well, he'll perk up eventually.
I think we're gonna have a great day. Sweetheart was a little cranky, but a little ticklin' took care of that. I'd show you, but I love my life and I'm not allowed to take pictures of her in the morning, even though she's even more beautiful when she first wakes up. I'm still laughing from being scared half to death by my little girl. And Sweetheart is draggin' out the cough medicine and a case of tissues. So we'll nip this allergy flare in the bud.

Grandma and Granddad are on their way in from Lubbock for the weekend, and everyone's excited about that. Princess has been practicing dances to show them and Little Man is looking forward to having someone else to mooch snacks from. I tell ya, that boy is as bad as the Furball when it comes to food! Open up a bag of pretzels and they'll both be at your feet within seconds.

After the, umm, challenges of yesterday, Sweetheart and I laid in bed last night (gasping for breath between talking and blowing noses) and brainstormed on what was going on. She pointed out that we both seem to have an illogical expectation that life should be perfect. Our children should be perfect. The dog shouldn't throw up on the carpet. The house should be spotless. You get the idea. I don't know where we got it, but it's caused alot of stress. So we talked about it and decided that we were going to stop expecting perfection.

Instead, we're just going to expect joy. Which means that our expectations will be met every single day. There's just no way to avoid it when you have a wonderful spouse, two beautiful little gifts from God and a Furball who is always proving how much he loves his family. We get distracted by the inconveniences of life sometimes, but today we see nothing but the truth and the joy that is our blessed life.

Yep. It's gonna be a great day!

19 April 2012

Melted Brain

If you try hard enough, you can actually control your temper and not beat your child half to death when she brings you her $300 "indestructible" glasses, which she "accidentally brokeded" when she was "playing with them and bending them."


However, the calm comes at the cost of your brain. I am pretty sure mine melted inside my skull...at least it did if the headache is anything to judge by. I think she actually managed to shock me straight through anger and into utter frustration.

So, instead of spanking her (no, I wouldn't "beat her half to death" - my idea of spanking is 3-5 swats on the butt with my hand) or putting her in her corner for time out, I actually managed to do exactly what I had previously warned her I would do if she destroyed anything else.

I had warned my destructive little Princess that she would lose all of her toys and dolls the next time she tore something up. So now, well, let's just say her bedroom is pretty barren. The new huge table I just made for her fur frenzies is empty...and that's a pity, because I was actually looking forward to showing it off to my Mom-in-Law tomorrow. Her toy box is empty, and my closet is full of toys.

We're not exactly sure why Princess has been on such a tear for the last few months. My theory is that she's been acting out of jealousy of Little Man. He's been sick alot and has needed alot of attention. I mean, come on, the boy's one! But Princess was used to having all of the attention herself. She seemed to be doing fine until about the start of this year. Then things started happening. She climbed under her playset and took a Sharpie to it...and the wall...and the carpet...and herself. She managed to get into the candy dish and went and hid with Little Man as they ripped through about a pound of chocolate while I was cooking dinner. Thankfully, the Furball was under my feet and not scarfing down chocolate as well. Lord have mercy, what a night that was!

Seems like anytime you turn around, she goes nuts. I think she's spent more time in the corner in the last four months than in her whole life combined. Apparently, we were blessed to miss the terrible twos and got the furious fours instead! Punishments have just rolled off her back. Five minutes later, she's back to the same thing.

So now, we get creative. Now my Princess is going to learn how to clean the car and wash the dog, among other chores. Shoot, if she tears anything else up, she might just learn how to use the pooper scooper!

Quickie Cheesy Dinner

We've all had those days when we've been running errands or taking the kids to the playground or when we've just plain old lost track of time. My answer to that had always been take-out. Taco Bueno, McDonalds, whatever. A couple of years ago, I started getting more health conscious and also began a Prepper lifestyle. So I started looking for quick and easy ways to feed my family healthy meals instead of take-out junk food. I was really inspired by Jan Jackson's 100 Day Pantry. She came up with recipes which can be made entirely out of long term food storage items, or made with fresh, canned or frozen items. And they are extremely adaptable.

My family's favorite is one we now call the Quickie Cheesy Dinner. I believe it started out as the "Creamy Tuna Skillet."

Quickie Cheesy Dinner

In a large pot, mix:
  • 16 ounces of canned chicken or tuna, rinsed thoroughly
  • 8 ounces of spiral pasta
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can of low sodium chicken broth (14.5 ounce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 3 cups of frozen or canned veggies, generally carrots, peas, brocolli, cauliflower, or whatever else I have on hand. I prefer frozen, but I keep canned in case we haven't gotten to the store.
Bring everything to a boil, then simmer until the pasta is done, generally about 10 minutes for me. Then add:
  • 8 ounces of cubed Velveeta
  • 1/2 cup of any good cheese. Parmesan, Romano, Sharp Cheddar, they all work.
Stir until the cheese melts and serve it up.

I generally serve it up with fresh biscuits or with black bread. The kids love it! The first time I served it was the first time Princess ever asked for seconds. And recipes like this have drastically reduced our dining out. It's actually quicker than running to McDonalds. From the time we walk in the door hungry to the time I have it on the table is about 20 minutes, and that's if I've had to take the time to make biscuits up fresh. Can't beat it for speedy satisfaction.


15 April 2012

Teething

I hate teething.

I really hate teething.

To maintain my reputation for crabbiness, I'll be quick to say it's because of my son keeping us up at night. Or because of the enormous amounts of drool. Or maybe I'll mention the toys he's chewed up. But when it comes down to it, those are all mere secondary inconveniences.

The real reason I hate teething is because I'm Daddy. I'm Daddy and I'm supposed to be able to fix anything. My Princess firmly believes Daddy can fix anything with nothing more than tape. "Daddy fix it." That's me. I've fixed toys, books, boo-boos, the dog, the house - you name it. Just ask my girl.

Yet, here I am. Rocking my son, trying to soothe him. I've tried every home remedy, homeopathic elixir and over the counter pain reliever. When it comes down to it, sharp little knob pushing their way through the flesh of your gums just hurts, no matter what you do. And Daddy can't fix it. He is pretty much inconsolable, and I feel helpless. And Daddy really shouldn't feel helpless.

Princess did some mega-teething and had her two year molars and a mouth full of pearly whites by the time she was one. Little Man is dragging it out a little more. Poor little fella is suffering something awful. Unfortunately, as smart as he is, it's kind of hard to make him understand that the pain and irritation will eventually pass. All he knows is that he hurts. And when he hurts, he waddles on over and stretches out his arms to me and gives me this look of pure trust and pure desperation, and I know full well he expects me to make the pain go away. And all I can do, like every other parent in the world, is rock him and try to soothe him to sleep. And feel like I'm failing my son.

I hate teething.

14 April 2012

Love is...#4

Love is holding your sweetheart's hair up while she vomits in the toilet in the middle of the night. (She told me to put this one in here, honestly!)

11 April 2012

New Phrase

Tonight, as I lay here, collapsed across the bed in utter mental exhaustion, I have been struck with inspiration. I am joining modern society, or at least the kooks therein, and adding to the english language. But let me paint a picture.

The day has been long and fraught with familial dangers. The boy ran around screeching. All day. At the top of his lungs. Seems he's experimenting with new sounds.

The girl got in trouble innumerable times for playing rough with the boy (which is possibly how the boy found his new mind shattering sound) and for playing rough with the boy again right after being punished for the same. Apparently she had taken complete leave of her senses. Or possibly has developed a memory problem and cannot remember getting put in the corner or spanked five seconds earlier.

The dog hid under my feet or the wife's for most of the day. I know he was in terror for his life. Good grief, so was I! But seriously, he drooled on my toes.

The wife was in near meltdown over a situation with her new company and had essentially decided to leave society and head to the wilds of Alaska.

And to top it off, as my wife came out of the boy's room, and the house was finally quiet, I suggested we scamper off to shower together and, umm, relieve stress and she said "Why would we shower together?" 

And what's worse, I was too wiped out to explain.

And so, I add a new phrase to our grand ever-changing language.

"Parental Pall"

Now for those of you like the wife, who just said, "Huh?", a pall is a covering for a coffin or hearse. And before you gasp, I'm not saying kids are like...umm, okay, so yeah, I'm saying kids have an innate ability to cast an almost funereal pall over their parents lives at times. Especially when the one year old has been teething for five years and the four year old decides to start wandering in the middle of the night. Hmm, possibly the reason the wife played dumb tonight, as the girl was still singing in her room, and her wandering was only realized after we unfortunately forgot to lock our door.


My mind is numb from the craziness and lack of sleep. But then again, tomorrow is a new day, and Praise God, tomorrow is Daddy's Day Out. Five and a half glorious hours...okay, the wife just interrupted my writing to comment that I will be working my tail off instead of running off to the gun range. But, at least I'll be cleaning the house to my own tunes and not those of Doc McStuffins.

Question of the Day #3


?
When I get to Heaven, will my Mama whup my butt for making biscuits better than hers?
?

Love is...#3

Love is being in the middle of cleaning the house, planning the weeks menu, trying to figure out supper and paying the bills, and dropping everything and heading for the couch when you hear a tired little voice ask, "Daddy, can we snuggle?"

10 April 2012

Thump, Thump...

Thump, thump, thump...

Sweetheart and I are sitting at the kitchen table enjoying our first cup of coffee together when we hear it.

Thump, thump, thump...

Furball jumps up from his comfy spot on my feet and runs for the stairs.

Thump, thump, thump...

We wonder what's coming. Yesterday was a bad day. Lots of trouble, lots of time-outs, lots of crying. There are 13 steps. With each thump, we wonder.

Thump, thump, thump, thump...

I forgot to turn the light on at the bottom, but as I peer into the darkness, I hear a swishing and rapid pitter-patters as something runs toward me.

And then she appears, running out of the darkness straight into my arms!

Happiness!

Excitement!

Joy!

Love!

My Princess is awake and smiling in my arms.

The day may now commence, and regardless of what it brings, it will be a GOOD day!

Love is...#2

Love is wearing only orange shirts for a year because your little Princess decides it's her favorite color and insists on picking out your clothes.

09 April 2012

Love is...#1

Love is turning off your Kindle in the middle of a great chapter and rolling over to cuddle with your Sweetheart because she can't get comfy enough to fall asleep unless she can cuddle into you and wrap your arms around her.

08 April 2012

Six Years!

Six years. Six wonderful, crazy, topsy-turvy years. It seems like only yesterday Sweetheart and I were getting off the plane in Mazatlan to begin our honeymoon and our life together. I remember the tour boat guide from our moonlight cruise around the bay. He couldn't speak english, but he figured out pretty quick that we were newlyweds. Something about the way we couldn't keep our hands off each other. He kept spotlighting us and hollering "Coochy coochy coo!" The other passengers loved it and it's still a joke between us. Six years later and we still can't keep our hands off each other.


So much has happened - some bad, most good, some great. Not a lot of people know she came home from a trip three weeks after we got back from our honeymoon and said she wanted a divorce. Seems several of her colleagues had worked hard to convince her she would never be avle to manage a marriage in her industry. And since we were both traveling so much, she was so stressed out she believed them. She cried, I got mad, I thinks I cried too actually. At some point we decided we would just make our own reality. And wow, what a reality!

Before we were married, our pastor gave us some great advice. He told us to remember that even if we yelled at each other, that was still communicating, and that's the crucial point. We haven't yelled at each other in several years, but we still hold free communication as our gold standard. People think we're odd because we are so wrapped up in each other. We think everyone else is odd because they're not so wrapped up in each other. But, hey, to each their own.

Since this blog is mostly about them, I won't even mention the two incredible kids we produced. But I will say, we produced some beautiful little critters.

Six years, wow! It's so hard to remember life without my love. Now we're a little older, a lot busier, and a wee bit fatter, and I wouldn't change a thing. I don't know what the years to come hold. All I know for sure is that I'm hoping for at least another sixty.


Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart! I love you!

04 April 2012

Wake Up Call

You know, it's so easy to feel like you have all your ducks in a row. And it can be a really rude awakening when reality slaps you in the face with a harsh wake up call.

As a prepper, I've always planned on "bugging in." That means I don't plan on leaving my carefully prepared, stocked and defended home. I'm comfortable with my chances of riding out any problem here. In the back of my mind I've occasionally thought about the need for a bug out plan, but I kept putting it off. My family's documents stayed in my desk, the bag in my car didn't have changes of clothes or enough water for more than a day. I hadn't even restocked the baby's diaper bag.

There was really no hurry. My home was my castle and it was well prepared for anything. Except for yesterday.

The kids were at their Daddy's Day Out program at church, Sweetheart was on back to back conference calls in her office, and I was happily enjoying the peace and quite and surfing the internet. Then the sirens went off. And the phone rang with a call from the city's auto warning system. And the weather radio started blaring.

Normally, that's not such a big deal. It's spring time in Texas. We have thunderstorms, we get weather alerts. But yesterday, the metroplex was hit by a tornadic cluster. Yesterday, the warnings were worrisome. Yesterday was the first time in as long as I can remember that I said get to the safe room now! And yesterday was the first time I realized that the safe room wasn't really prepared. There was no flashlight, no radio, no water, no tools for possibly digging out of the rubble, no protective gear, no nothing. We scurried around like sheeple as we gathered up the basics and squeezed ourselves into the most central room of the house. And we listened as the weather service said there was a tornado coming straight towards our home. And we prayed.

Praise God, we didn't get hit. Our home is intact, our children were safe in the concrete building at church and I am alive and well and able to feel foolish.

After the storm line passed us, we sat and watched as the metroplex was pounded. Tornadoes hit all over the place. The freight yard I worked out of when I was a truck driver was torn to pieces. The trailers I once hauled were thrown into each other and into nearby homes. People were left homeless after cars were thrown into their houses.

It was a sobering afternoon.

Complacency has a way of settling in when life is very comfortable. Apparently, my life has been very comfortable of late. Thankfully, this wake up call was not damaging to us, as it very well could have been. Sweetheart and I put together a bag while we watched the news and it's now in position, ready to go, and will be improved over the next few days. It's uncomfortable for me to face the reality that my castle is not indestructible, but face it I will. This Daddy has had his complacency shaken out of him. Thank God!