Sunday, October 3, 2010

All good things ...

It ended as quickly as it began.  I have been trying to come up with some profound summation to my life as a stay at home dad, but regrettably nothing has come.  I have started writing this post about a half dozen times, but keep coming up blank.  I want to talk about how much I learned or share some funny anctedote about my time, but again, nothing.

All I can say is that staying at home with your kids is not easy.  When you work a job you can turn off your computer or office light and go home.  Not so easy with kids.  I can truly appreciate now the job that Julie has done for all these years and is now doing again.

I have also realized that I am not built to be a stay at home dad.  I have my fathers patience and an inborn need for peace and quiet.  As a stay at home parent patience is essential and peace and quiet is extremely elusive.

So the decision became and easy one.  Julie longed to be home ... I was not fitting into the role ... so here we are.  

I will continue to write.  I thought about changing the blog to something like this ...

But that seemed a little corny, so I have begun a  new blog at:

The first post is up, I hope that you enjoy.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Life As A Stay At Home Dad?

It began with a much needed night out.  A night away from the kids.  Away from the chaos.  We had been at each others throats for days.  The stress of life was overtaking us and we needed a break.  Thank you God for a little place called the Wine Vault.  That night it was a bottle of Woop Woop Shiraz, live music and  a sobering, yet freeing conversation about the state of our state. 

It was decided that it was time for Julie to come back with the kids and for me to head back into the work force.  Me as a stay-at-home-dad was born from necessity.  It was promissing at first, we were optimistic that it could work, but as the months clipped by, it had become obvious, Julie needs the kids and my patience might be better suited for other endevours. 

That was a few months ago and the job market was bleak.  Not a nibble, not a bite.  Nothing as humbling as applying for postions that you know you are well qualified for and not even getting a sniff.

But we have come full circle.  Julie's Birthday.  We were back at the Wine Vault.  A bottle of Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz, live music and an expectant and anxious converstation taking place about the state of our future.  My Blackberry buzzed (finally) with an email containing an offer sheet from my new employer.  I will be starting after Labor Day. 

We are excited and apprehensive about the changes coming our way.  I will have more to come on what this means for my life as a blogger. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Walk

The first time was in my college apartment, after graduation, but before life started.  It caught you by surprise, it wasn't how you pictured it and it sent you running.  But you came back.  The second time was at the college Arboretum.  This is the one we talk about.  Picnic, wine, conversation, pictures, the way it is supposed to be.  Then there were others.  There was a ballpark, on the water, in different states, anywhere that felt right, that felt special.  The last came on THE day, delivered to you with roses.  I am so glad the answer was still yes.

A lot has happened since that day.  The world has moved fast and we have done our best to keep up.  We have faced trials and tribulations, but also joy and wonderment.  There has been laughter and tears, humor and disputes, excitement and fear.  We are different from those wide-eyed kids from that day, but yet we are just the same.

You still excite me.  You remain my most best friend.  You make me smile and in turn I love to make you smile; because when you smile ... you can brighten the world.  I love you so much.  And I am so glad that on this day you were born.  I can't offer you money or houses or gems, but I can offer you this ....


Monday, August 16, 2010

My comedy relief ...

Zoe's vocabulary and personality is evolving rapidly.  Here are a few recent quips that she has graced us with:

"When I grow up, I am going to drink princess wine."

When told that Daddy will take everyone fishing in the fall, "I'm gonna catch a princess fish and keep it in my princess bed."

"I can't pee-pee on top my poo-poo."

While donning her new princess sunglasses, tilting her head down, wearing a snear on her lips, raising her eyebrows to see out above them, "I'm a Secret Agent."

"Stop it Zane, I not want to hear your voice."

Zane struggling to open the front door.  "Zane, move out the way, I can open it." She pushes Zane out the way to get to the front door.  After pushing on the door once, without even touching the door handle, "Daddy, open the door please." (I did, so I guess she accomplished her goal)

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Pursuit

The goal is in sight.  It is shiny, it is mysterious, it is new and I want it.  There was a time that I did not have the ability or wherewithall to traverse this great distance, but that time has come to pass.  I will claw and sratch and push my way toward the finish line if need be, but I will not be denied.  The route is filled with obstacles to manuveur, but I will prevail.  I will claim my prize. 

The treasure is within reach.  I can almost taste the victory ...

But what is this?  A force lurking in the shadow ... casting his shadow down upon me.  I must move faster. I must outrun my pursuer.  I must savor the flavor of triumph.

Just a few more inches and the thing that I covet, the thing that will make me whole will be mine ...

But there they are.  They have come again.  The vice grips of disappointment grasping at my chest ... pulling me back, up and away from the spoils of my sojourn.

Don't misunderstand me, the darkness, the shadow is not frightening, not scary.  The force is simultaneously constricting, yet comforting, impeding, yet reassuring.  In a strange way, it feels proper, it feels right.

I am not afraid.  I am determined, insistent, unrelenting and resolute.  But not afraid ... for I know that no matter what dangers may lie ahead, my salvation will be prowling in the shadows waiting to draw me back and cast me into a new direction.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Auto Care and all that entails ...

So the car needed to be fixed.  Simple enough, cars need to be fixed every day.  Ours needed a serpentine belt, an oil change and tire rotation. Hour and a half, in and out, no problem ... except ... Julie and I only have one car.  Julie had to work and we are setting out on a little road trip tomorrow.  That meant Me, three kids under 3 years of age and Firestone Auto Care.  To my advantage, they recently opened a new Firestone in the same parking lot as Concord Mills Mall.  So the plan ... drop Julie at the church, drop the car off, trek the 1/4 mile across the parking lot, GET MORE COFFEE, visit the play place, see the fish at Bass Pro Shop, maybe have lunch and go back to pick up the car.  So simple.

I packed the diaper bag.  Diapers for Zadie, Pull-ups for Zane, Wipes, extra outfits, Goldfish, Puffs, toys, 4 apple juice sippy-cups, 1 apple juice bottle, food for Zadie, spoons, bib and gum (for crowd control).  We were well stocked and on our way.  A few minutes down the road Julie asked, "Did you get the double-stroller?".  We were well stocked, but evidentially not completely stocked ... back to the house.

After that brief inconvenience we were on our way once again.  Julie was dropped off.  The belt for the car was not in stock, but easily gotten.  Price was in line with my expectations.  Good, time for the mall. "Daddy I have to go pee-pee" says Zoe.  And of course her echo, Zane, chimed in "Daddy I have to go pee-pee too."

I need to stop here and paint a picture for you.  For this trip I blew the dust off of our double jogging stroller.  The width of most retail doors is 36".  The wheel base on our double jogging stroller is 35.9999".  The bathroom at Firestone is a unisex, 60" x 60" room, with a peculiar, rather unpleasant smell.  The only way I can explain the scene within the bathroom is to have you picture a revolving door, but replace the door with a large jogging stroller.  To move from the toilet to the sink, you must pivot the stroller to the left.  To get to the paper towels, pivot to the left again.  To coordinate the movement, everyone must work in unison, which does not come even close to falling in the twins vocabulary.  But we managed to perform the bathroom waltz not once but twice, Zoe being successful, but not so much for Zane.

To the mall.  Uneventful to the play place, except the Starbucks that I had been craving for an hour, closed and I had to settle for what Cinnabon passes off as coffee.  But I digress.  Zoe and Zane of course enjoyed playing, but my focus was on Zadie.  The mall was not open yet, so the play place was empty and I was able let Zadie crawl around without a fear of being trampled (at least by strangers; Zoe and Zane are another story).  Zadie is the kind of baby that would make you want 15 more kids.  If she cries, she is hungry, tired, stuck (a new one since she has become mobile), or was just run over by one of her locomotive- like siblings.  I put her down in the middle of the play place and she spent the next half an hour moving form one attraction to the next just exploring, smiling, laughing and looking around to make sure I was watching her pull herself up to a standing position (and once again laughing when she realized that I was indeed watching).  How lucky are we, that in this time, that has brought many new stresses, we are blessed to have an even-keeled, low maintenance, angel of a baby.

A dirty little secret.  Well, not so dirty I guess, but still something no one knows about me.  I like it when my children stop people in their tracks.  This may happen with all kids, but I am going to pretend that it is only my kids because I am their father and I can do that.  It started with Zack.  When he was a baby, people stopped us all the time and said how cute he was.  He was curly haired, fair skin and bright blue eyes.  We were stopped with the twins all the time, but they were twins and somewhat of a spectacle just in their numbers.  But once again with Zadie, people just stop and stare.  This happened half a dozen times today and the truth is, I liked it.  So there.

As we were walking to Bass Pro Shop I realized something.  Zane is following right in Zach's footstep with his curiosity.  Zane's new favorite thing to say is, "I've got a question."  He never follows that statement with a question, but he has heard his brother say it so much that it is now ingrained into his lexicon.  But he does have questions. He wants to know what everything is.  If he follow in Zach's path, right now it is what everything is, next it will be what is it for and then how does it work.  As I said in Oh yeah ... I was going to write about the kidswhile questions can get a bit overwhelming and time can not always be made to answer, I pray he never stops asking them.

The other thing that I observed is how the marketing machine driving our society has claimed another victim in my young Zoe.  For her, it's the Disney Princesses.  In Bass Pro Shop she was collecting anything pink and Princess.  At one point she had a Princess tackle box, two princess outdoor kits (sunglasses and what not), a princess fishing rod and a pink butterfly net, going on about her "birfday" coming up.  Our house couldn't fit all of the stuff she has asked for, for her "birfday".  This isn't unique to Bass Pro Shop either.  She came up to me in Target the other day with half a dozen Barbie Dolls in tow.  The other thing she likes to do is find spare change, show it to me and tell me that these are, "pennies fo pwincesses".

As we were leaving Bass Pro Shop I heard the familiar "Daddy I have to go pee-pee," of course from Zoe AND her echo.  This time we had a little more room to spread out, which has its advantages and disadvantages.  Zoe took one stall, Zane took another and I set up camp at the diaper changing station.  I changed Zadie then went to help Zane.  He had shed his shorts, diaper, shoes and was straddling a toilet trying to do his business, wanting "pwivacy".  So I set off to help Zoe.  She was done and wanting to get dressed again.  I helped her and turned to go back to Zane, but he was gone.  He decided the toilet was not for him and had wandered over to the kids urinal; sans anything on his bottom half.  The next event remains a bone of contention between Zane and I.  I did not see him go pee-pee, but he adamantly told me, over and over and over (and over and over), until I gave up, that he did in fact have a successful trip to the urinal (he didn't).  I washed Zane's hands.  As I was washing Zoe's hands, I turned to look for Zane and found him, head under a stall, looking at someone trying to use the bathroom.  How embarrassing (for everyone involved).  I grabbed Zane washed his hands and got out of that bathroom as fast as humanly possible, taking only a minute to chuckle at my children's absolute fear of the XLerator hand drying system (they are absolutely terrified of how loud they are and for some reason it amuses me).

One more stop at Books-A-Million to peak through the discount bins.  I found three Illustrated Classics that will be great for Zach and of course Zoe found an armful of books, for her "birfday".

Back across the parking lot, where it was much hotter than it was an hour and a half ago, when we made our first foray across the asphalt.  I paid the bill and one more time heard the now all-to-common chorus of "Daddy, I have to go pee-pee" (maybe 4 sippy-cups of juice was too many).  The bathroom was just as small and much to my chagrin had not been relieved of that unpleasant odor.

In the car, everyone exhausted, but great prospects for naps on the horizon.  All in all, a good day.
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