Life

Looks like there might be a possible move in our future. At least as of today.

Next week, I travel for a possible new job. One that could be both exciting and challenging. But this possible move is also stressful as well.

There have been a lot of conversations, both with my wife and also with the possible organizations. The thought of moving, is exciting and scary all at the same time.

One on hand, it might be time for a change. But on the other, I would be away from my family for a month or two, 5 days a week, which is not ideal. Is it the end of the world, no, because families do it all the time. But for me, who is a very active father that puts his kids to be every night, it makes my stomach hurt.

Another big focus in all of this is my kids. They are established in their schools. They have little friends. We know their Pediatrician and he knows us. The thought of having to find someone new and build a relationship, does not excite me. But at the same time, this move could be a great thing for my family.

A good friend of mine asked where our end goal was for the family as it pertained to living and I said, North Carolina. And as we talked through that this was not in North Carolina, he reminded me that it took him 3 moves to get to his dream town.

This move would be a lot easier if it were just my wife and I. This could be possibly a no brainier to be honest. But I have to consider my kids. I have to think about how a possible move would impact them.

Everything would change. We would know not a single person there. We would be starting new. For someone that is not normally a risk taker, especially this late stage of my career, I am stepping out of my comfort zone and taking a leap of faith.

My guess, is that by next time this week, I will know if we will be exploring the possibility of going or not. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. But it does add a layer of stress to life.

So, here is to a possible move.

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I realized this morning, that I really do not like who I am becoming. I do not mean that as a negative, but really more of a fact.

This morning before leaving the office, I was tense and on edge. One of the boys spelled some of his milk and did not tell me, and when my wife found it became a HUGE issue. Was it blown out of proportion,  maybe?  But she was not happy and I was on the receiving of that.

So my response was a simple reminder that I was getting ready to start my hour and a half commute, that I had a day full of meetings and then I would be driving another hour and a half back home after work. And it was then I realized, who I am becoming is someone that I do not like.

The argument that my wife and I had this morning, was not over the spilled milk. It was over my job.
My work load has tripled and there is a chance in literally the next few weeks, that it could do so again. I am on edge the time that I leave the house until I come home and often times, it is now taking me hours to settle down.

And that time that it takes for me to relax, is time that I’m not me. I’m frustrated. I’m short with my wife and my kids and I don’t mean to be, but I’m struggling. I am really trying to keep it all together. I’m focused on ensuring that my teams at work are doing their jobs and at the same time, when I walk in the door at home that I switch gears.

So this weekend, the phone goes away. My focus and attention is going to be spent on my family and I am going to try to relax some. In order to change to who I want to be, I have to change who I am becoming.

 

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I’ve stared looking at the year in review and all in all, it has been a good year. The family is healthy, spent a lot of time with friends and family.

So here are just a few of the highlights and they are not in any particular order.

  • Both boys are doing great in school. In fact, both have been recognized for achievements in learning.
  • Boy B was diagnosed with ADHD & has been doing great with both a combination of medication and also additional services to help him learn to cope with this.
  • We celebrated the life of my Grandfather this October. My Grandfather meant the world to me and taught me so many valuable life lessons. You can read more here.
  • We were able to meet our 1st financial goal that we set for the year and that was to pay off at least 2 major credit cards. 2 done and a few more to go. But, in all honesty, that was hard because we had an increase of medical bills due to my son’s therapy. Not complaining, but just a fact. But we are on pace to hopefully be in a better place in 2018.
  • My wife was in a major car accident this summer. I will never forget the feeling of pulling up to the accident and seeing the damage to my wife’s van and feeling how blessed we were that she was still alive. Her guardian angel was definitely there for sure protecting her.
  • We added a new addition to the family! Meiko aka The Meeks aka a great little puppy.
  • I started doing DDP Yoga, which is something that I never thought that I would do or even more importantly that that, enjoy.
  • Grateful that my family in Houston were spared any damage during Hurricane Harvey.
  • Cooked a whole lot and really started to broaden my horizon with cooking and taking some serious leaps with that. I also added grill number 4 to the deck. Which gives me 4 Grills and a smoker.
  • The boys just started martial arts and love it. And Boy A is starting to play basketball at the Recreation Department.
  • Work is, well work. Nothing really good or bad to say.
  • My wife’s job has changed a bit as well, so there has been an adjustment period there for us too.
  • My two favorite teams won championships, UNC Basketball and the Houston Astros.

All in all, life is good. We had our ups and our downs in 2017 but made a lot of great memories too.

And 2018 already has some bright spots. My wife and I will be celebrating our 10th Wedding Anniversary and will be renewing our vows, with our kids there. And if all goes well, we should be able to really knock out a lot of debt in the front half of the year and being on our way to being debt free. And we already have at least 2 trips planned for the year as well, with many more to go.

So, from my family to yours, enjoy the moments and have a Safe and Happy New Year.

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At dinner on Saturday night, the boys were playing games and all of a sudden I hear “Son of a B…..” shouted at the table. Not something that you expect to hear at the dinner table, especially in public at a restaurant, but there it was.

I was in second grade before I heard my first cuss word, let alone saying it out loud. And the one time that I did say it in front of my dad, let’s just say that it didn’t end well for me. But sitting there Saturday night, hearing my son say Son of a B….. for the first time, totally caught me off guard. I was speechless for about 30 seconds.

And then I was faced with two choices and he knew as soon as he said it, that he was in trouble. But Option 1, take him out side and spank him or Option 2, calmly explain that what he said was wrong. So, I went with option 2 and we talked about how little boys do not need to talk that way.

Let’s just mark this down as just another thing that I was not expecting to deal with at such an early age.  I knew that it was coming, heck my wife swears like a sailor at sea, but I have really tried my best to keep my language clean. Now that being said, the boys are still not allowed to watch the UNC vs. dook basketball game, as I save all of my bad language for those games. But it was moments like Saturday night that really made me question if sending the boys to public school was the best option?

Do not get me wrong, I have zero plans to send the boys to private school for several reasons and the most important is that I pay city and state taxes, which directly effect the school, so why would I pay more? But more importantly, I will not lie and say that home schooling the boys did not cross my mine Saturday night.

As the night went on and we talked more about appropriate language, I was taken back to sitting on my grandfather’s front porch, talking with my Dad and he spanked me. And as I talked with my son’s about their choice of words and how they responded, I realized that I made the right choice in talking with them versus spanking. Even when they Son of a B….., I just sometimes shake my head.

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I started this blog with the intent of being able to provide words of wisdom one day to my sons. I did this as a way to chronicle their lives and share things that I have seen as their Dad and also things that I went through. And as a Dad, I would be wrong if I didn’t include one of my favorite musicians, Drew Kennedy and a new song that he just released for his sons called Miles to Go.

‘Cause you got miles to go
When it’s easy between the lines and the curves
To turn the beautiful scenery of this life to a blur
So don’t let your ride run out of road
You’ve got miles to go

To my sons, I hope that you take these words to heart and realize how much there is to do and see and take chances. Take chances when you you get a chance, and more importantly, trust your gut feeling. Life isn’t always about staying safe, you have to take a chance every now and then. Sometimes, you will fail. Sometimes, you will succeed. But, this much I can promise you, if you don’t try, you will never truly live.

 

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It is time. It is time to say goodby to my grandfather, who for years was there for me. He believed in me, when I didn’t see it in myself.

When it was time for me to move to Texas, my father asked my grandfather if I was ready and he said “it is time.” And it was.

You see, with my grandfather, time is a key component to his life. He was a farmer so his crops were time sensitive. He and I talked on Saturdays and that too was time sensitive.

But his death, I feel was also based on time. He and I talked every Saturday, for the last 20 plus years. And 2 Saturdays ago, we talked and he could barely get more than two sentences out, but his words were meaningful:

Take care of your children and your wife. Love them. And I will miss our Saturday talks. I love you.

And just like that, the conversation was over. It was over, because not only was he tired and was struggling to get those words out, but it was over, because it was time. He said what he needed to say and I replied with a simple Yes Sir and I love you.

Time is a precious thing. It is based on time and moments, but also hugs and love. These past few days, there has been a lot of hugs and love and in a few moments, time seemed to stand still.

When the US Army Color Guard played Taps, I cried. When they folded the flag and saluted my father, who is a retired US Full Bird Col., I really cried. Because it really hit me, that my grandfather was gone.

Yes, I saw him and took the boys to the visitation and they both went to see the body with my wife, while I stayed in the hallway. But in the sense of time, the visitation stood still. I saw friends and family that I have not seen in years. I saw friends that my dad had in both his professional and military life that I have not seen in years.

And as each person sought me out, I realized, that not only in that moment in time, did life seem ok. But more importantly, that in that moment of time, life was ok, because I was still close to my grandfather.

Time is important, both here in the present and also in the past.

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This has been a tough week. My grandfather is actively dying, work has been work and the boys have been ok. But it has been a tough week.

The boys have had a better week at both school and at home. They have done well with their nightly reading and math homework. But Boy B’s teacher has been out on medical leave and so his schedule has been a little off. I will say though that his medication has really helped with the last two weeks transitions with a substitute teacher.

As for my grandfather. The family has called in hospice to help provide comfort for him in his final days. And even though I have not been able to make the 7 hour drive south to say goodbye, I have been able to talk with him several times and we laugh, we cry and we say goodbye again. The call this past weekend was tough, because he was barely able to say “I love you”, but he did and I cried.

The older that I get, the more I realize what is really important. Work has been tough this week, for a lot of reasons. And maybe the things from my life have taken priority and/or overshadowed everything else, I have tried to keep composure. But life, is sometimes hard to control all aspects without a little struggle.

As I type this, one of the boys is watching the Houston Astros playoff baseball game (Go STROS!) and the other is in the bath. I just chilled a bottle of wine, because sometimes a good glass of wine is all that you need to help today be a little better. And as I get the boys ready for bed, I am quietly reflecting on the day and week.

This has been a tough week! But life can be that way more times than not. Sometimes, it is hard to step back and think about what is important because of life. And then there are days like today, that make me really realize what is truly important. So, with that, Go Stros! And I’ll put the boys to bed tonight, enjoy a good glass of wine and I’ll celebrate the final days of my grandfathers life.

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For some reason, the thought of pulling teeth for the boys just never crossed my mind., until last night. I knew that Boy A had a really loose tooth, but I just figured that he would lose it like he did the first one, eating. But no.

So after dinner, he kept complaining that his tooth was really loose and he was in pain when eating. And the more he complained, the more my fair of pulling teeth became a reality. Just the thought scared me to death! I just keep thinking that I was going to hurt him and he was going to be in pain.

I tried to do what I thought was right, ignore the situation, offer him an apple and another slice of pizza, but that did not work at all. He chewed out of the other side of his mouth, which defeated the purpose. Then he asked for dental floss and I just could only imagine what crazy ideas that were going on through his mind, like ting it and slamming a door. Or tying it it and throwing something down the steps.

So as he was coming up with other ideas of how to get it out, I started texting fellow dads and they all said that they struggled the first time too, which did make me feel better. But, they all said to just pull it. Just grab a Kleenex and take it out. As I paced the hallway and kitchen, I got everything that I needed and just really need a few minutes to calm myself down and reassure myself that I was not going to hurt my son.

I had a glass of salt water on the counter to stop the bleeding, if there was any. A damped paper towel and a glass of wine for me. I had my son close his eyes and I took the Kleenex and felt how loose his tooth was and if he had eaten the apple, it would have come out, I am pretty sure. But I slide my thumb down and slowly lift his tooth out. I spent more time walking and pacing than it did to pull the tooth.

The tooth fairy came. He is happy. I was glad that my first experience of pulling teeth was not awful, but definitely never wracking. There are a lot of YouTube videos that are out there, so take a watch and see what works for you. The only real advice that I have, is to remain calm.

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Heroes don’t wear capes and masks, instead they wear uniforms and business suits and dresses, and overalls. Heroes are everyday normal humans that do extraordinary things on a daily basis.

Teachers, doctors, famers, fire fighters, police officers, soliders and the list goes on and on, these are true heroes. They put their lives on the line daily or they do something for the better of the world. And more importantly, they do amazing things with little to no fan fare or rarely a thank you.

Today, as I type this, my grandfather, who is one of my heroes, is laying in a hospital bed and is coming to the end of his life. He fought in World War II, he was a farmer, he was a father and grandfather, brother, uncle, etc. But more importantly, he contributed to society in different ways and made everyone that came in contact with him a better person.

He is always quick with a joke or a smile and he has never known a stranger in his life. Even when he is down or not feeling well, he is doing everything he can to make someone else’s day better. Through out the last several months as his health has steadily declined, he never once complained. He never once asked for pity or for someone to feel bad for him. Instead, he offers advice, he tells a joke and he makes others ok with were he is in his life and in knowing what the future holds.

My grandfather has lived a great life. He lived within his means and built up a legacy for his entire family and has been a rock for us all. And as we come to the end of his life, I have struggled with making sure that I have asked all of the questions that I wanted to know. I have wanted to ensure that he is comfortable and ready to leave this world, because when I get the call, though it will be a sad moment, he will no longer be struggling.

So as we watch what is going on in the world today, I reflect more on what lessons of life I have learned from my grandfather, because he is a hero that wore a farmer’s hat and drove a tractor.

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This past Friday, I took the day off from work to be a chaperone on my sons school field trip. Is this how I would normally want to spend a day off? Nope. But what a great day!

The boys and I walked over 5 miles that morning at the fair and visited every single exhibit with farm animals that they had. We laughed. We joked. And most importantly, we had a lot of fun.

At some point in time during our trip, one of the boys asked if my father ever went on a field trip. One thing that I have realized is that there are parts of my childhood that my kids do not need. Will it serve them any purpose in knowing that my father didn’t spend a lot of time with me? Do they need to know that he put work before me?

I just smiled and pointed out that a cow had just pooped and the boys went running and laughing. But it got me thinking while I was walking around the fair and looking at the other chaperones and I was one of the only Dads that was there. I understand it, it is hard to take off of work. I had to cancel 4 meetings in order to go on the field trip, but it was important for me to be there. My son’s need to know that they are my priority!

All Dad’s and future Dad’s, spend everyday as if it was your last. Give your children your undivided attention and it is not always easy to do, but try. Put the phone down and listen. Read at night to your children. TV can wait and so can responding to the emails that are sitting in your inbox.

As I watched my boys interact with their classmates and show their engagement with the animals and asking questions, I thought about the previous year and how much they had grown. I realized that I will never get today back. And in a few years, the boys will not want me to go on a field trip with them. So for today, right now, I will be glad to take off every chance that I can to spend time with my sons. I will be glad to be the only Dad going with their kids.

And more importantly, I want to make sure that my sons know that I have and will always make them a priority.

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