Crib Notes

I’m adding this new category to the blog, one that will probably be used more in an effort to add more short entries while avoiding using just Facebook or Twitter.  These entries will not include pictures of my kids but rather how I deal with them.  Or maybe I’ll just write more of whatever I feel like.  Maybe there will be pictures.  That sounds like the plan.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy!

 

Posted in Crib Notes | Leave a comment

In Loving Memory of Mom

Mom

Mom

This Saturday is the Walk to Defeat ALS.  My family and I will walk with hundreds of others in an effort to raise money and awareness for ALS.  ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease took my Mother’s life in 1989.  My Mother was a great woman.  She was always happy and positive in any given situation and I credit my demeanor to her and I hope to pass on that love to my kids.  I talk to my kids about their Grandmother but not as often as I should.  Fortunately, this Walk brings up quite a few memories of Mom that I can share with my boys.  That and house cleaning leads me to find family pictures to share with them.

My Wife discovered the Walk in Florida about 9 years ago and we have been doing it each year since.  She also gets her positive attitude and giving spirit from her Mother who actually does the Walk in Milwaukee because of my Mother, someone she’s never met and has no connection to ALS other than my family.  I am in awe of the way they both show empathy and selflessness in everything they do, especially when it comes to family.  I wrote something on the subject last year.

http://ncdads.org/2013/10/14/like-mother-like-daughter/

Walk day, 4/12/2014, is my Wife’s birthday.  We have a fun day planned for her starting with the Walk to Defeat ALS.  The weather has been great and after the coldest Winter I can remember in 30 years, we are excited to get back into doing things outside without needing to dress the kids for sledding.

If you can, please donate  http://web.alsa.org/site/TR/Walks/NorthCarolina?px=2953745&pg=personal&fr_id=9723 or to ALS.org directly.  I was 14 years old when my Mom passed away.  While there is no cure today, there is research that is being done that gets us closer to a cure and innovative ways of how to care for those battling the disease and ways to make life easier at a time when ALS makes life so hard.

Thank you

For reading and for your patience, as it has been a few months since my last post.

Special Thanks

To Garrett Bissonnette for the amazing artwork, he is responsible for the new header and logo of the site.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

From Boys To Men

This video really spoke to me when I first saw it.  I’ve watched it 3 times and for an internet video, I never really watch more than once as things we find on the internet need to be taken with a gargantuan grain of salt.  I’ve thought about this subject matter in reflection of my own life, insecurities and dealing with people, but more importantly, how my wife and I are raising our 3 boys.

Please click the link below and watch the attached video….

http://www.upworthy.com/theres-something-absolutely-wrong-with-what-we-do-to-boys-before-they-grow-into-men

It’s so true that we are asked repeatedly as men, boys, to sack up, man up, push down our feelings and not give it a second thought.  That is really harmful and I think it’s worse in the U.S. because of our constant inflating and deflating of our egos.

As a father, I’m totally guilty of it.  I hear crying, whining, complaining and irrational venting.  I respond by yelling, sending kids to their rooms, time-out, deny them treats, take away toys, basically anything I can think of but draw the line at violence.  They’re not always wrong, but if I don’t scold them, then they’re given the impression that their behavior is okay.  To be specific, today, playing outside, Andy was bursting into tears at every little thing, his helmet was too tight, his bike wouldn’t go as he was trying to pedal up a slope.  This is a new bike and new helmet, so we just had to make adjustments.  My thinking is, let’s just discuss it, Andy needs to ask for help; yes he’s got to calm down and ask nicely and be polite.  This is just today between 4pm-5pm, to be fair, his brothers also had their times today and I have to remind myself that they’re kids, constantly learning and testing to see what they can get away with.  One of my most difficult tasks as a Dad is I’m always looking for rationality from irrational brains.

I definitely have many fears about the future for my kids.  I want to make sure that I convey the importance of talking about things that might seem petty, but important, no less, to my children.   Mental health is an issue that has been misunderstood, misdiagnosed and ignored for too long.  We as a society need to change that and it starts at home.  If our kids are not shown love and understanding, then they will never know a how to give love and understanding.

I am always trying to remember what it was like to be a kid as I watch my own.  My previous comment about the future relates to exactly that.  I can’t imagine being a kid today, from technology to the way technology is manipulated to exploit and endanger is hard for me to grasp.  I’ve been needing to change the settings on the iPads as AJ searches online for videos relating to Scooby Doo and Skylanders Giants, but general searches could lead him anywhere.  I was told that having no restrictions on Internet searches is like sending them out alone at night in NYC.  My kids could handle it, but I wouldn’t want them to have to do it.

When I talk about the future of my kids, I am trying to remember middle school and high school, but I should probably include elementary school as well as our kids are exposed to so much more real life, earlier in life.  They are also exposed to so much more that is not real and they need guidance, preferably parental.  When I was in middle school, I had awful friends and I changed that in high school.  While I was still an immature kid, I also learned that it was important to have friends that build you up and to do the same for them, as I think that as a teenage boy, it was in our nature to cut each other down.  That is so important to building relationships, whether it’s with teachers, peers, bosses or family members.  We have to be good to each other.  Many of us are on Facebook (or whatever social media you choose) every day and our interactions since not face to face, are not 100% genuine.  We post what we want people to perceive about us and if someone does us wrong, it’s so much easier to call them out on it from behind the laptop screen. That’s one reason cyber-bullying has become such an issue in recent years. There is no fear of consequences as kids don’t see the repercussions of their actions immediately and need something drastic to happen to make them realize that the internet can be damaging and permanent.

fb 1There are 1000’s of tangents that could lead into lengthy discussions but the bottom line here is that we cannot act surprised by our kids’ actions if we’re the ones shaping them.  Kids are so impressionable. They will go through things we will never understand. It is important that we as parents are the ones that give them the strongest positive influences. Kids learn through our modeling. It is important that we are aware of how behavior influences them. We have to make an effort to spend quality time to get to know who our kids really are and make them feel comfortable enough for them to show us.

**All of the attached media in this post was found at the George Takei Fan Page on Facebook, with a link to the attached video at www.upworthy.org, both are highly recommended and I give 2 enthusiastic thumbs up.  Thanks George!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Merry Christmas from NCDads!!

Condo Christmas

Condo Christmas

About a month ago, my wife and I were asked to be on a panel in front of an under-graduate class at ECU.  The class was part of their College of Human Ecology in Education, Intro to Marriage and Family.

I’ve never been much for public speaking so I was dreading this day for about 5 weeks since we volunteered (I was volunteered involuntarily).  When the time came, I was a bit late for the class as I had just dropped all 3 kids off at their respective schools and met my wife outside of the class.  We went in and all the students were in their late teens or early 20’s and looked as excited to see me as I was to see them.

The professor thanked us for coming and introduced us and another professor that was a Mother of 2 boys.  The class was barely 50 minutes long and it seemed to have flown by as just like when I worked in insurance, I was okay with public speaking so long as it was a subject that I was familiar with.  Okay, but I still didn’t like it.  This time I did, I find my kids far more interesting than deductibles, exclusions and denials.  The instructor had some pictures of our kids and the panel discussion began.

We were given an outline of the questions that were forthcoming so there were no surprises…planned.  We each gave our introductions and they started asking my wife about delivery.  Unsure of how graphic to be, we each described our experience and I ended by telling the class that what people don’t realize is that this whole ordeal of childbirth is very rough on a man and I had to go through it 3 times!  The class went silent.  It must have been too early as it took them a while to realize I was kidding.  The girl that was asleep in the front row didn’t even budge.

So we described the birth of our firstborn, AJ, my wife is so positive that when she went through 24 hours of labor only to realize that she needed a C-section, she stated that this was “the best of both worlds.”

An odd question from the man with the dreadlocks in the back of the class, he says “so if you were in labor for 24 hours, were you pushing the entire time?”  My wife just answered yes and we moved on.  Weird.

One lengthy discussion included our views on discipline.  For me to become a disciplinarian was difficult as I’m just a kid, Dad by default.  We were asked if we hit or spank our kids and I responded no.  I told the class that it was a shared decision even though sometimes I felt that it might be the only way to get through to our kids.  Even though I felt this way, there was no reason to act on it as they’re just children and learning to be a person is a difficult and lengthy process.  Recently I was asked by my nephew why we don’t spank our kids.  I responded by saying that if you spank or hit an adult for their wrong-doing, do they learn a lesson? The answer is, emphatically, no.  If we want to teach our kids not to hit or kick, then we need to act as we expect them to act.

It’s clearly a personal choice to not hit our kids and a controversial one; an important one.  This is something that a couple needs to be in complete agreement before having kids.

We discussed also my transition from working for 20 years and then working harder.  I like to say, and if you know me, you may have heard me say, I’ve done some hard work in my life but getting the kids up, ready, fed and out of the house with combed hair is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.  Especially without tears (this doesn’t occur very often).

The students asked how we arrived at the decision to move, I explained that this was one of the things that we discussed when we first met, I knew that mine was no career but that she had promise and aspirations, she knew that I would follow her anywhere.  Kind of like some popular country song that she likes but I can’t remember.

I discussed my difficulties when we moved, adjusting to 2 kids and eventually 3.  The instructor asked me if I had any second thoughts on the transition and I answered no.  This was what needed to be done to keep our family running like a well-oiled, sticky, messy, machine.

I really enjoyed talking with the class, especially the subject matter and having my wife right next to me, in her element as Professor, Wife and Mother.

On the other end of the spectrum, recently, I was told by a friend that he and his wife were considering starting a family.  I immediately without thinking said, “Don’t do it!” I don’t know if this was an instinct to an attempt to be funny or if I actually felt that way.  One of the things asked by the class was how our lives have changed since kids and what we missed about being DINK’s (Double Income, No Kids).  The answer is nothing; we cannot imagine our lives without our kids now and wouldn’t want to.

We’ve discovered that it’s good to have friends with no kids as they’re still interested in talking about our kids.  At one point, my wife and I went out with some friends that are kidless (by choice) and I was asked what our secret was.  I simply stated, we’ve discussed our financial future and have done nothing to act on it.  We are counting on our perfect kids to be perfect teens and get perfect scholarships for being perfect.  It’s a gamble given the imperfect NC public school system.

Merry Christmas from FL, NCDad, NCKids and NCMom!!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Countdown #2

This is a website I like to share each year before Christmas. The kids love it and like Santa, it’s our last line of defense against misbehavior. I recommend this to any parent. It is such a cool idea. Please check it out. 

www.portablenorthpole.tv/prepare-a-message

We love this time of year at our house. Today we took the kids to Dean’s Farm in Wilson, NC. each year, they have activities set up in Santa’s Workshop. this has been a Christmas tradition since we’ve lived in NC. The kids love it. Today they talked with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Made cookies, wrote letters to Santa and even had Twas The Night Before Christmas read to them by Santa. However, at 5 years old, AJ’s quick enough to say “why are we mailing letters to him if he’s right here?”  Well, he knows now that this is only one of Santa’s Satellite offices.

The last few years they had a hayride that took the family around the farm to Santa’s workshop. This year they did not which was kind of disappointing but it worked out as the hayride might not have been ideal at 34* and raining.

If you’re nearby and want your kids to see something truly unique at Christmas time I highly recommend you visit. it’s fun for parents as well. I didn’t sit on his lap and tell him what I want for Christmas but he’s Santa, he already knows I want the Skylanders Giants Swap-Force starter pack!

 

20131208-222115.jpg

20131208-222134.jpg

20131208-222143.jpg

20131208-222220.jpg

20131208-222249.jpg

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Countdown

As my boys get older Christmas time gets more and more exciting. My wife and I are such kids at heart that I wonder if we make too big a deal about it. Their main concern is forthcoming presents but we’ve got to drive them a little crazy. Last night I sang the 12 Days of Christmas in full. They were done at 5 Golden Rings and I was just proud that I remembered all the words. Their poor little ears!

Tonight we are watching Frosty the Snowman with the kids. Who remembers the first thing Frosty says when his hat is put on and he comes to life?

20131206-201208.jpg

20131206-201244.jpg

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Like Mother…..Like Daughter

238One day last week, I woke up and found that my wife had already dressed the boys to get them ready for school.  When I went in their room, I noticed that the clothes were on the floor that I laid out for them the night before.  I said to my wife, “Did you not see the clothes that I put out for them?”  Shortly after I made another comment to her that I can’t remember what I said.  I know it was not the nicest morning greeting to her.  Realizing that, I went to her and said, “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to start the morning like that….good morning.”  It’s so important to notice these things.  We all have our days when we are not 100%.  I’m so glad I noticed as if I didn’t, she would still be going about her day doing things to keep our household running.  Rather than being snide or rude, I should have seen right away that she was doing things that I could have been doing to help out to get her to work on time and the kids to school on time.  My point is this, make sure you know when people are doing something for you and give credit where credit is due.

1374036_482642428510245_301549640_nOften I’ve written of how good my wife is to me, to our boys and beyond.  I’ve also talked about how great her parents are to us, yes the in-laws.  Well today, my Mother-in-law is walking in the Walk to Defeat ALS in her hometown of Milwaukee.  This is a yearly walk that is done around the country to raise money and awareness of this horrible disease.  My mother-in-law has no connection to the disease other than my family as in 1989, My Mom died from Lou Gehrig’s Disease (AKA ALS).  This was long before I met my wife.  I mention this as how wonderful that my wife’s Mom took it upon herself to get involved.  It wasn’t until 8 years ago that my family had found out about this important walk in Florida….by my wife.  We have participated in this walk almost every year since, with the exception of when having a few kids that prevented us from walking.  Since we have moved to NC, we have found our local chapter that holds the walk and it’s become tradition for us to bring our kids on the walk so that they know how meaningful it is to get involved and do things for others.

My wife is arguably the most hard-working person in Greenville.  Today, she took the kids to church, taught my kids’ Sunday school class and worked a table for the Grand Families group, a ministry she’s started at our church that offers information and support for Grandparents that are raising children.  She is an expert in this field and even more so in the field of being a Mother.  With a Sunday morning being so busy, she gave me some time to write this.  It was either that or I could make the bed and clean lint from my belly button.  Just kidding, she made the bed too!

She really takes good care of her boys and everyone she meets.  Earlier this week, we went out to dinner, normal routine, we took the kids to Playdate and were going to go out to dinner.  On the way there, she noticed an old man standing out in the rain.  After we dropped the kids off, she asked me to circle back around to see if he was still standing there.  He was and I pulled up next to him on the side of the road and asked if he was okay, if he needed a lift somewhere.  He told me yes and we gave him a ride across to the other side of town to an assisted living facility.  His name is Russell, he told us at 6pm that he was out there waiting for a long time.  He got out at 10am, a friend had driven him to the Food Lion and when he called back for a ride home he was not able to get ahold of him.  This man spent some time drinking coffee and people-watching at McDonald’s and was starting to get nervous about getting home when we came along.  Russell was extremely thankful and it really made me feel good to be able to help.  I never would have noticed him and I believe that not many people would, but that is the trait that sets my wife apart from most.  It’s the same trait that she shares with her Mom that helps me to be a better Dad, Husband and Human Being.

178 (2)Much like her Mother, my Wife is committed to selfless acts, they are a great team.  Even though they are miles apart, they are in contact most days and somehow manage to fill that time with conversation about life, progress reports on the kids, weather and the Packers.  I talked to Grandma Flutter (my mother-in-law) yesterday and I was speechless that she took it upon herself to participate in the Walk.  She recruited her Husband (Grampa Bay) and her other children and friends to walk.  She raised money and had a really good time helping.  It’s indescribable to say the least to see someone that would do something like that.  She told me some things about my Mom as if they had met even though they hadn’t, from stories I’ve told her and stories she’s heard from my family.  Thank you Grandma Flutter.

Today marks our 7th Anniversary.  Although it’s corny to say that someone is a soul-mate, my wife totally is mine. She is also my best friend, although her Mom is tough competition!

“True love is the soul’s recognition of its counterpoint in another.”  Happy Anniversary!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments