Monday, November 08, 2010

Time for a POP Quiz!!

Recently I've been spending some time taking a look at my parenting skills for no other reason than I probably just have too much time on my hands. Regardless of why, I thought I'd share a bit by giving a piece of the pop quiz that I seem to be taking over and over again at odd hours of the day.

1)Your child decides half through trick-or-treating miles away from the car that he has enough candy. You decide the he is: A) easily satisfied and knows when he has enough, B) is selfless and wants to make sure the other kids have plenty of candy, or C) isn't goal oriented enough and should have set the bar higher?

My answer: D spoiled rotten. After two homecoming parades in as many weeks and a grand tour of the city which resulted in enough candy to make Willy Wonka gasp in disbelief, candy is the last thing he felt he had to try hard for.

2) After taking a bath with his little brother, you catch your child drinking dirty water and pretending to be a fountain. When told that the baby most likely pee'd in the water, the child says "No big deal so did I". Your first reaction is to: A)throw up in the bathtub, B)make him drink a bottle of Listerine to burn the germs off, or C) be proud that he has yet to become the germ-a-phobe that his old man has.

My answer: C but I'll never kiss him on the mouth again.

3) While taking your child to the bathroom at Burger King, he somehow causes the urinal to self destruct sending gallons and gallons of water in the floor. After spending several minutes trapped in the bathroom waiting for the Mississippi river to go down the drain in the middle of the room. You and your child make a solemn vow to never repeat what just happened to anyone on the other side of the door. Which is broken the moment the door is opened and the child shouts "Hey guys guess what just happened" Your reaction is: A) pretend you have no idea why your pants are wet to the ankles, B) go tell the lady behind the counter that their bathroom just freaked out all by itself, or C) cram your mouth full of food and keep your head down.

My answer: While C would surely have been the way to go, I went with B after Mandy heard the blabber mouth tell the hole place anyway.

4) Fourth and final question. In the past month your child has punched his best friend who happens to be a girl in the neck, claimed no responsibility when an apparently rabid hand puppet went berserk on his baby brother, told this year's church "Santa" that he sees through his disguise, and used his doodle to hold a DVD so his hands would be free to do other things like fly through the air pretending to be naked Superman. Your reaction is to A) curl up in the fetal position and cry because you know you have been defeated by a 4 yr-old, B) turn your attention to the baby in hopes of making right what once went wrong, or C) take off your kryptonite belt and give DJ Tallywhacker a list of your demands.

My Answer: While all have their pro's and con's, I can't help but remember a story someone told me recently that has caused me to just let some things go. It appears that the elderly gentleman that greets everyone at church with a handshake Tommy Lane recently paid a visit to Adam's school. Passing him, Adam had the look on his face that he knew he had seen this person several times before but couldn't remember where. Then as he put it together, Adam stuck out his hand and gave Tommy a great big shake....which caught the attention of all the other kids in class who in turn did the same thing. Something that both Tommy and myself will always remember.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It's The Great Goose Egg Charlie Brown!

Halloween is really starting to look like it's not going to happen this year, at least not for the Blockhead crew. Adam has been showing more than normal signs of a cold (some of you may remember he just got away from having to take breathing treatments regularly the first part of this year), Alex seems have some type of fever virus and spiked at 103.7, Mandy is right behind the baby at 100.7, and me....I'm facing the possibility of having to make the decision as to whether or not to dress a sick 4 yr old in a dinosaur costume and drag him from house to house just so we can say we went Trick-or-Treating this year.

Every parent will tell you that it's those days right before a major holiday that are the most crucial in terms of keeping the family healthy. Months of sneaking from store to store picking out the perfect gifts from "Santa" can all be flushed down the drain thanks to a case of the flu or a stomach virus. Our worst Thanksgiving involved Nani, Brock, Brooke, and me sitting down to a dinner of turkey, mashed potatoes, mac n' cheese, and Mandy stuck in the bedroom puking her guts out from a dose of morphine she had gotten while having kidney stones taken out the day before.

All the cranberry sauce, presents, and candy in the world can't stop a kidney stone or stomach virus and if it's happening to you, you'd gladly trade it all till next year for a moment of sweet relief.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Trouble With Girls

Adam...I can't even believe I am writing this....Adam is in his first love triangle. I say it's his first because after what I saw today, it doesn't look to be his last. I was never the love triangle type. My first crush was on Firestarter and her Amazing Friends. It may have been because of this obsession with all things comic book related that kept me out of love triangles or out of love straight lines for that matter. There were a few girls, but they were never right for me (code for they all dumped me). Thank goodness I somehow managed to win Mandy over. If she were to ever leave me I have no doubt I'd revert back to my old ways and become the comic book guy from the Simpsons.

Adam's love triangle between Allie and Sarah Kate spilled into a major fight last Friday. It eventually lead to some major embarrassment, a bloodied nose, and an attempt to cover one's tracks. When parents tell their kids that the punishment they are about to receive will hurt them as much as its hurts the child they are telling the truth. It might be a busted wrist from spanking without a belt, a headache from hearing "Can I leave my room now!!" 500 times, or in our case a weekend of partying with our friends flushed down the drain.

This morning I thought the triangle had reached some sort of peace, but now I'm not so sure. Danielle ran all the way down the hall just to give Adam a hug. This was followed by Madeline's proclamation to her dad that she was going to marry Adam someday. It turns out that the triangle is really a polygon.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Gone In 60 Seconds

It's amazing how fast things change. This past week after days of having it rumored to have occurred by Adam and myself, Alex finally said Mama in front of Mandy. There was some debate about what Adam's first word was (it may have been Hey, but we are saying it's Dada), but with Alex it's clear as a bell.

Saturday night gave us another example of how fast things can change and how when it comes to kids, life can turn in and out of chaos in a matter of seconds. Here is a timeline of what went down in about a 60 seconds:
  • Alex, Adam and I are playing in the bed.
  • Mandy leaves the room, goes outside, and opens up the trunk of the car
  • Adam starts laughing and playing with Alex, rolls off the bed, hits his head on the corner of the nightstand
  • I see Adam out of the corner of my eye (the Auburn game was on and my attention was torn) and lunge for his hand seconds too late
  • Adam is crying like crazy and grabbing his ear. His eyes are tightly shut as the pain has clearly racked his brain.
  • He goes to open his eyes and them WHAM! The entire house goes dark.
  • Adam immediately screams as if Jack The Ripper just entered the room!
  • "I can't see!!!" thinking that the hit on his head has caused blindness, Adam looses control and freaks out.
  • I start trying to figure out how I'm going to find a flashlight while I'm laying halfway across the bed holding Adam with one arm and trying to make sure Alex stays put with whatever else I got
  • I scream for Mandy.
  • She closes the trunk, the exact second the lights kick on. Mandy never knowing the power went out, hears us all screaming, and comes down the hall.
  • She finds Alex laughing it up, Adam blinking his eyes like he's thankful to have his vision magically restored, he's holding his ear like his brains are about to come out, and I've got this look on my face like "Did that just really happen?"

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Adventures Of Peter Porker

Now that I've turned 35 I'm really starting to look at myself in the mirror and see the toll that an exercise free lifestyle has taken on my body. Not that I haven't been overweight for some time, it's just that recently it has dawned on me just how much my over grown stomach has turned into an extra appendage as if it were another arm or leg. I'm not going to give you my current weight but back when I weighed 150 I would never sit around slurping an icee through a straw from a drink that was resting on my stomach. Not because that's the epitome of laziness, but more so because I had no stomach to sit it on. It's very just wasn't possible back then.

I don't sleep on my back because it's comfortable, I do it because sleeping on my stomach is like sleeping on medicine ball. People think that I carry Alex around front facing because he "likes seeing the world", but that's just a lie I use to cover up the fact that I'm using my stomach as a seat. He's essentially riding my stomach all around the building. When Adam comes charging at me like a football player head tucked shoulder out, my best defense is just stick out the belly and watch him bounce off. I start meals seated really close to the edge of the table, I know it's time to stop eating when my stomach begins to push me back a little bit. My belt has 3 buckle holes: Before lunch, after lunch, and these pants are cutting off my circulation.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Career Proximity Theory

I'm starting to develope this theory that the closer you live to your place of employment, the more times you are late during the course of a week. People that live 30 minutes away are always on time because they have to worry about traffic, wreaks, bad weather, I live 3 minutes away. Now that should mean I am the first one walking in the door everyday, but what it really means is that I can leave my house at 8 and get to the office at 8:03.

Lunch breaks are the worst as there is never enough time to do the million things I always seem to try and cram into that one hour period. I mean I consider myself a smart guy so why can I not figure out how many minutes are actually in an hour. Yet everyday there I am trying to write a post, watch some show from the night before, check facebook, check my 3 email accounts (one for home, one for freelance work, and one for junk mail), and play with Alex for 5 minutes.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Facebook Killed The Blog Star

The worst part about writing a blog on a weekly basis is the guilt that comes from ignoring it. The main reason I ignore it isn't so much that I'm writing 6 other articles a week that actually pay me something, but that Facebook doesn't require me to finish a thought. Here whenever I have an idea I have to think it out, turn it around in my head a few times, and edit, edit, edit. On Facebook I can say things like " I wish everything had bungee cord attached to it" and leave it at that. On Charlie that sentence would lead to a list of all things I want bungee cord on like the remote, utensils, the laptop....not that I haven't thought about it, but it's not something I'm ready to commit to in writing.

So for those of you out there who keep asking where I'm at, I'm still here and I'm going to keep posting. The posts may just take on a smaller format.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Driving Through Rainbows

The only downside to my freelance writing schedule picking up is that it severely limits the time I have for Charlie. I feel like I'm in a confessional booth every time I start to write a post here. "Dear Father forgive me. It's been 30 days since my last post."

Today Adam started his new class at The Hill. What makes this particular new class so special is that it will be his last new class before he starts kindergarten next year. When Adam was 8 weeks old we walked him through those large double doors, turned left, and walked the long hall to his first class room. Today we turned right and completed the route on the opposite side of the building. I can't help but be a little teary eyed as I think about this. I quizzed him all night about how his day went only to get the usual "no trouble!" He thinks that's all we are looking for when we ask him how his day went, but it would be nice to hear that he actually learned something. Which I'm sure he did, but in his mind all that matters is staying out of trouble so he can play when he gets home.

As for Alex his first day will have to wait a little bit longer since Mandy was able to stay part-time for the rest of the year. Sometimes money isn't the most important thing in the world and neither of us is ready for these days of having the kids home all day to pass just yet. We've been to two funerals too many the past month and are still adjusting to the shock of losing a close friend that seemed larger than life. I think of Sammy Mann at least two-three times a day. I wish there was something I could do to fill the hole he left in so many lives....

Our usual July 4th tradition is to drive south to see my Granny Beck as well as my dad and others. This year as we were going through Tuscaloosa we spotted a rainbow. As it got closer I remember we started making jokes about where it stopped and telling Adam of how at the end a pot of gold awaited for those that arrived there first. Believe it or not as we rounded the turn there it was. The most amazing reds, greens, yellows, and oranges all ending right in the center of the road....and we drove straight through it. For a split second we were actually inside a rainbow.

With each passing day I watch how big the boys are getting. I sit at my desk staring at the clock thinking of things that we can do when I get home. At night Mandy and I watch movies and laugh about the kids. Not a week goes by where we don't have dinner with friends, or go see a parade, or visit some local park. Things are not perfect, I think I've learned that they never will be. Everyone has stumbling blocks, issues they have to deal with, and challenges they must face.

I told a pilot friend of mine about driving through the rainbow and he told me that what happened to me wasn't possible because rainbows never actually touch the ground. I don't think I believe this. Tonight Adam came home and put together a puzzle in the floor with Mo. Mandy and I took turns tickling Alex. After dinner we all watched Scooby Doo....everywhere I look I still see those colors shining all around and I wonder....maybe we did find that pot of gold.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Rules Of The Game

Now that we are nearly 4 months into this multiple child parenting thing, the rules have changed as well as the games we play with one another. The best example of this is that in terms of defense we no longer get to play zone. With one child defense is easy, you stay on one end of the room while your spouse stays on the other. If the ball...I mean the child tries to escape or stick a fork in his eye on my end of the room he's mine, if he's on your end it's up to you to kick him back into the middle of the playing field. I use the term defense because it's a child's job to constantly attack your central nervous system especially if he is a 4 yr-old Dennis The Menace. When dealing with two kids the game plan is more man-on-man. "I'll change the baby's diaper while you stop that one from running out the front door and flagging down the ice-cream man." "If you could feed this baby, I'll go give the other one a bath." What makes this defense so great is that the second you get fed up with one child you can tag out in hopes of being put in charge of somebody you may actually be able to control.

Another game we like to play is Copy Cat. We copy what Mommy says, what Daddy says, what the TV says, what the radio says. We really like to copy those things that are sure to get a reaction out of people. Curse words we don't know the meaning to. Lady Gaga songs Daddy isn't aloud to listen to anymore when the kids are in the car. Cartoons that although come on the Disney channel don't always use G-rated words. We like to stand behind people and copy every word they say until they get mad and then we like so say stuff like "Are you going to pop me?"

Which brings me to our second favorite game....the guilt trip game. "I promise I want to be a good boy Mommy. I just don't know how. Sniff Sniff Whimper Whimper" "I just don't know how to listen Daddy. I promise I try, but I'm no good at it. I love you Daddy"

We also like to play 20 Questions. This by far is our most popular game and the one we are the most good at, but in our house the parents play by one set of rules and the kids play by another. For those under 5 the game goes like this: "How come we can smell the food outside the restaurant?" "Because it has a chimney" "Why is our house a road and not grass?" "That's not a road that's the front walk. It leads to the front door" "What are we doing next?" "Going to bed!!". The parents play by a more frustrating set of rules "Adam can you go put your pajamas on?" "Adam please go get your pajamas on" "Adam did you hear what I said?" "Adam why are you playing ball and not putting your pajamas on?" "Adam do you want me to take all your toys away?" "Adam answer me when I'm talking to you!"

The one game we have no concept guessed it. Quiet Mouse.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

I Promise Not To Cry

Daddy do you have to work today?
Yes I do baby. I'm sorry.
But why?
Because we need money so we can do stuff. Please don't cry.
But I don't want you to go to work today Daddy.
I know, but you are going swimming at Nani's. That will be fun.
Okay Daddy. I promise not cry when you leave for work.
That's my good boy.
And when we go to Nani's I won't cry either.
Cause you're a big boy.
And when we leave Nani's house I won't cry for you then either.
Thank you. Give me a kiss and hug. I love you Adam (silently to myself I promise not to cry either).

Monday, June 07, 2010

Grandma's Fridge

Adam came home last week after visiting Mimi's house and after a few hours developed a bit of a belly ache. I asked what he ate and got a list of items that included an oatmeal cream pie, marshmallows, a piece of chicken, a couple glasses of tea, a handful of grapes, and a bite of an ice-cream sandwich. I felt bad for him, but I couldn't help but laugh cause I know from experience that even the most mundane of foods tastes better when it comes from Grandma's fridge.

Leftover pork chops, hamburgers, macaroni n' cheese, cold spaghetti....Grandma's fridge was practically a buffet of all my favorite foods. Like some kind of treasure just waiting for me to come over and discover. She never got upset. She never told me I couldn't eat something (unless of course it was Grandpa's dinner). She simply asked that we eat all we get and not throw anything away...and even then she tended to look the other way when our eyes got to big for our belly's. Once she let me put salt in my cheerios because I insisted that's how we ate it at home and then looked at her like she was crazy for suggesting that maybe I was thinking about sugar. I managed to choke down half before I admitted my blunder.

Oh and the sweet tea! Not just any sweet tea, but the tea from her glass. That glass she made just for herself in those narrow tall pastel colored plastic cups. I don't why but that was the best tea I've ever had. To this day I'm not sure that she did anything other than pour it from that big glass jar with the screw on metal lid straight into her own cup. Every time I saw she had a glass I'd steal it and she'd just smile and laugh. To this day when Adam sees me drinking sweet tea and asks for a drink I tell him he can have as much as he wants. As he gulps it down I remember that taste and all those days spent raiding my Grandma's kitchen.

Now when I go over there everything is salt free, cholesterol free, and taste free....or maybe it was always that way and I'm the one that has changed. I wonder if she would still laugh if I suddenly showed up and drank that glass of tea she just sat down to enjoy.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Morning Glory's

Now that there are four of us waking up on the weekends is always an interesting slice of life. For one thing the same people that have to be yanked out of bed by their toes Monday-Friday seem to come alive at the crack of dawn on Saturday. I'm speaking of course about Adam. I'm the oposite. Alert by 6:15 during the week and still walking around like a zombie at 10:00 a.m Saturday. Now that Alex has come along, mornings around the house tend to fall into three varieties.

1)The sun is barely peaking through the blinds, the birds are chirping, a feeling of quiet calm covers me like a blanket. I resist opening my eyes for as long as I can, but eventually I take a peek to see what time it 9:00 a.m. Adam must have fallen out of bed and knocked himself unconcious or has run away from home....either way it looks like Alex and Mandy are still sleeping too. So I just lay there and enjoy the silence as long as I can.

2)The sound of something crashing to the ground jolts me out of a deep sleep. As I open my eyes I halfway expect there to be pieces of airplane wreakage laying around me as if I've woken up on LOST beach. Suddenly Adam yells I DON"T WANT TO CLEAN MY ROOM! I'M HUNGRY! The island is angry this morning. Mandy runs into the room with Alex screaming his head off. "Alex needs to changed, I'm about to beat Adam within an inch of his life if he does not quit whining, the kitchen is a mess, my mom is bringing breakfast, and I've have got to go the bathroom. Take the baby." Things are happening all around me too fast for me to even register them. The phone begins ringing. Baby in my arms I manage to make it before the machine kicks on. The doorbell rings. "Hey mom, Gigi is at the door with breakfast, I have no idea what we are doing today. I just remembered who I was. Got another call, Hi Granny" Can't go the door cause I'm in my underwear. Adam takes off running for the door, but it's locked so he starts yelling at her through the door "I CAN'T OPEN IT GIGI! DID YOU BRING ME A CHICKEN BISCUIT?" I put the baby down, he starts whaling again, I drop the phone, grab some shorts, a shirt, all the while trying to remember where I left my keys so I can unlock the deadbolt, trip over the cat on the way down the hall barely stopping myself and Alex from rolling through the house. The day never stops from there.

3)I hear a pounding sound coming from the other side of the wall. Adam is up and going through his closet for some reason. Good he's letting us sleep and playing in his room. He comes in a few minutes later. 'Can I wear this?" Without looking I say yes. Honestly I have no idea what time it is or what he's holding up, but sleep is my only priority. He returns moments later "Can I lay on you?" I say yes, get a few jabs in my ribs as he climbs up, but I think it's sweet he wants some attention. Plus I might actually get to go back to sleep. Alex is between Mandy and I so I put my arm around Adam so he doesn't roll over on him. That's when I get the finger in my ear. Laughing hysterically Adam has decided wrestling is more fun than sleeping. I go to swat him off and he almost falls on Alex. I catch him and get another finger in my ear. My child is kicking my A@# and there is nothing I can do about it. I plead to Mandy "Adam won't quit picking on me." Without opening an eye she whispers "Boys go play in the other room we are still trying to sleep".....looks like us boys will have to find breakfast ourselves.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Attack Of The Monster Possa!

Up until a few weeks ago the closest I had ever been to a possum (other than running one over with my car) was staring out across the yard late one night at the Garfield house. At the time I swore I had scene an armadillo. That changed a couple weeks back around midnight as I stepped out onto the back porch and landed about 5 feet away from one. Shrieking like a little girl I let out an expletive and ran inside deciding immediately that the trash could wait until the possum free morning came.

Always one to have my back Mandy "encouraged" me to finish the task of taking out the trash knowing what lurked just out of sight. I banged and clanged my way to the trash making as much noise as possible in order to scare the beast away. This seemed to work except that in my haste to get outside and back I closed Buttons between the wood and screen doors. Once this was discovered yet another expletive was heard echoing through the neighborhood that night.

I quickly learned my lesson though. Don't go outside after dark and I won't have to face the giant possum (or possa as Adam calls it). Then last week at 5:30 in broad daylight as I was staring out the kitchen window the Monster Possa proved that I had more to fear than a late night stroll around the backyard. There it was just walking through the yard in broad daylight like a cat or dog except twice as big and with many many more teeth. Afraid to go outside at any time of day or night for fear the giant possa will attack at a moments notice I am have become the caged animal. Trapped in my own home scanning the terrain with every step. Fearing the MONSTER POSSA!!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Weekly Round Up 5/06/10

Now that I've got a blogging job again, I'm posting 3 days a week and it's causing me to back up a little here at Charlie. I'm going to try to at least do a quick rundown once a week just so I don't get too far behind on what's going on.

First of all as I've mention I'm a Blogger For Hire once again!!!! Check me out 3 x's a week at The Godfrey Group blog. It's all about trade shows and marketing tips. Godfrey makes custom banners, kiosks, and booths. Show me some support and click over there.

Next up I promised Jim I'd drop a line or two about the Modern Media Man (M3M) Summit coming up in Sept in Atlanta. I get a lot of daddy bloggers looking at my sight and this may be right up their alley. According the site: The Modern Media Man Summit will provide dads and men bloggers around the world the opportunity to gather in Atlanta September, 9-11, 2010 to attend an important conference featuring the latest in social media: blogging, podcasting and vlogging, while also harnessing the excitement and electricity of the Internet’s latest buzz.There are dozens of renowned conferences held annually throughout the world for bloggers, but what none of them have created is a place to gather the new modern media men, specifically, the daddy bloggers, whose influence is fast increasing in the contemporary online space. The M3 Summit’s goal is to bring together brands, bloggers, and some of the brightest minds in the industry to experience, teach and talk about how the role of Modern Media Man is changing. We know the time, location and topics of focus– educational, personal and business tracks–all will work together to generate the perfect storm in the blogosphere. This is the best opportunity of the year for men and daddy bloggers, whether they’re stay at home dads, work at home dads, business professionals, the lone entrepreneur, marketer, advertiser and public relations professional to gather in one spot and plot a new course toward progress. This also will be the best event of the year for brands and marketing professionals to reach out and make the new connections that will help further change the face of traditional blogging and social media. Today’s Modern Media Man now is a domestic engineer. He cooks, cleans and often times stays home while the woman of the home goes off to the traditional office job. Men do an increased level of the family shopping, are taking an increasing role in rearing the children and are creating a new definition of what happens in a home. The M3 Summit will be held in the heart of Atlanta in the Omni CNN Center. You don’t want to miss this opportunity to become an important change agent in a world that’s fast changing. Make your plans now to be a part of the first M3 Summit in September 2010, and be a part in defining the new Modern Media Man.

We actually had to spank Adam with a belt this week 3 times. Twice in the same night! He just can't stop jumping on the Henson's guest bed.

Alex went to the Dr today and weights 12 lbs with a length of 24". They tested for jaundice for the like the fourth time because of his color. He had to have 3 shots plus drink some nasty looking syrup. I can't blame him for sleeping the rest of the afternoon with all the trauma he had to endure.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Every Rose Has It's Thorn

I'd like to think that the reason the band was playing the classic song by Poison was out of tribute to the bands lead singer Bret Michaels who is currently in the hospital with a brain hemorrhage. Then again they could have just been oblivious to this and played it because it was a wedding and that's the kinda song people expect to hear. Either way it seemed to be the perfect theme to what Mandy and I had been going through the past several weeks. After 12 years together it's reasonable to expect there to be a few thorns here or there, but lately I think we have both felt bruised and battered by our relationship. It didn't have everything to do with the kids or how tired we both were or work stress that seems to be ever present. Money is always a touchy subject but even that doesn't feel like the reason why our connection to one another seems to have short circuited lately.

It was Mo's wedding and things were a little more chaotic than your average wedding. The blessed event was to take place outside and even though the weatherman said there was a 100% chance of severe weather (the typical stuff like hail, tornadoes, wind, rain, lightning, you know...all that end of the world stuff) the groom said during the rehearsal dinner "Come hail or high water, we will be getting married outside tomorrow so you may as well come and watch" Adam was the ring barer, Mandy was a bridesmaid, and Alex was a special attendant....regardless of how badly we were getting along I was expected to make like the happy husband support everyone the best I knew how.

The bridesmaids showed up in rain boots and just when all was lost the sky's parted and the sun came out. It was the perfect weather for a perfect day. Adam rocketed down the isle and spent the wedding trying to knock the arch full of flowers on top of the entire wedding party. When that didn't work he ran through the crowd to sit in my lap....for about 30 seconds. He got back in position just in time for the grooms brother (who at this point had given up on any sense of a traditional wedding taking place) to pick Adam up and hold him upside down as the happy couple kissed for the firs time as man and wife. Later on as the happy couple ran down the isle towards the limo through a see of people holding sparklers, Adam thrust his flaming wand of fire into the groom. Mandy spun him around and he rested it on Steve's leg who stood there having no idea he had just lost his tuxedo deposit.

After all the pictures and polite conversations, there Mandy and I stood together still feeling alone after weeks of peeking up from our respective trenches to take shots at one another before buring ourselves in the dirt again. I forget what brought it on, but the ice melted with a laugh....and then a smile...and then as if upon request the band played the song that led to the dance that helped us find the rose we had been desperately searching for all these weeks. We had finally made our way through the thorns and to the rose in the center of it all. Aren't weddings amazing.....

P.S. Special thanks to the Nani for adopting Alex for the day.

Monday, April 19, 2010

100 MPH With My Hair On Fire

I stole today's title from Jim Turner. I committed the crime because it is exactly how I've been feeling lately. Ever since Alex has been born life is flying by faster than I can blog about. The only way I am going to catch up is to give a quick recap of recent events.

  • Adam had two birthday parties this year. One on his actual birthday March 20th for family and the other on April 10th for friends. The second was at Chuckie Cheese. Surprisingly enough it was actually cheaper than us getting all the decorations and finding a place. The only thing that confused the stew out of me is Adam's fear of Chuckie. Had it been anybody else's party he would have been all over that mouse, but his own and suddenly he's scared to death. Just don't get it.

  • Another thing I don't get is taxes. I heard today that something like 20 years ago only 10-15% of people didn't pay taxes. Now that number is up to around 45%!! I don't know about you, but I'm tired of paying my fair share and everyone else's too. Feeling punished because I have a good job and work hard.

  • Speaking of jobs I got a new writing gig this week. I was offered one about solar panels, but turned it down after the contract didn't go the way I needed it to. It was during that conversation that I was offered another for a company that sales trade show displays. Will link to it once all the loose ends are tied up.

  • The baby is great by the way. Sleeps about 6 hours a night. Doesn't cry too much. The only thing that has us stumped is that we can't seem to find his thing. You know that thing that no matter what is happening manages to calm him down. With Adam it was all about bouncing on my knee and singing. We've tried bouncing, swinging, rocking, singing, patting, petting, riding, and walking....still nothing except of course eating which he must come by naturally because it's all I want to do too.

  • Every time the baby starts to cry Adam hollers at us like a tornado has just landed down the street. This is nuts considering the baby is never more than 5 feet away from Mandy or I at all times. "MOMMY THE BABY IS CRYING!!!" "I can see that Adam. He's sitting in my lap."

  • Alex tends to wake up at 5 and I've been saying for years that I need to be getting up at that time to go to the gym (which I have a free membership to). Still every morning I wake up get Mandy and Alex settled and I'm off to sleep for another hour and a half. Then I stare out the window all day long promising tomorrow will be different.

  • We have spent too much money on Adam. His movies fell over last week and it sounded like the city library collapsed. I think we have gone too far. Considering selling some of his stuff on Ebay so we can buy more stuff so we can sell it someday.

  • Watching Adam blowing dandelions and making wishes has got to be the cutest thing in the world other than Alex holding my hand.

  • Work....well let's just say there are issues and I'm looking to better myself. I was always told nobody could blame you for trying to make life better as long as you are respectful of where you are now.

  • We are currently working to expand Adam's horizons. Gigi took him to see Mickey Mouse and friends in Hunstville a couple weeks back (don't ask him about it unless you wanna see how Woody did his lasso and possibly see Adam take off across the room like a helicopter). I've taken him fishing twice in the past month. Mandy is teaching him to wash clothes and dishes. Tonight he helped me cook dinner. It's too easy to simply sit your kid in front of the TV and let him veg. Gotta pull out the flash cards and teach him some stuff.

  • I absolutely love my iPod. May sell my soul for an iPad someday soon. Need to find away to make some iMoney so I can afford some more iTech. iCarumba!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Can You Pass The Screening Process?

This hopefully won't come off as being too snobby, but if you really think that I believe my daycare is run by a bunch of Socialists than no doubt your opinion of me will worsen this week. We are thankfully to the point in our new journey with Baby Alex where we can begin to become functioning members of society once again. Last Friday we hit up a local T-ball game, went to Church Sunday, and will be going to the big C this Saturday morning. With this new found freedom comes a very intense, sometimes disappointing decision making process that could (and probably has) left some with hurt feelings. What I'm trying to say is that in order for someone to get close enough to hold or touch Lex they must pass a screening process.

Not a full blown physical mind you, but for all that would like to touch, hold, or coo in our baby's face you need to be aware that before the opportunity arises you are being scrutinized for signs of infection. Sorta like the image you see when you are watching a movie and they change things up by giving you the robots perspective. We are RoboCop-ing you. Now we are not going to jump the gun so don't be afraid to approach. We love our friends and family dearly and in no way want to shun anyone....however if you sniff too much we hear you....cough too much we step back from you...if you talk about having to miss work because your child had a fever we fear you.

We will be subtle if we can. We will be intentionally vague about our plans to attend an event before hand as we sort out the guest list and their recent medical historys. We will do our best not to be rude, but we will be RoboCop-ing you.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

The Socialism Of Bunny Foo Foo

Easter is a time of rebirth, renewal, rejoicing. Spring is in the air. The flowers are in bloom. The sound of lawnmowers getting back to work fill up neighborhoods all over the country. Is there a better time of the year to teach kids about Socialism? You know what Socialism is right? As one dictionary puts it Socialism is "an economic theory or system in which the means of production, distribution, and exchange are owned by the community collectively, usually through the state. It is characterized by production for use rather than profit, by equality of individual wealth, by the absence of competitive economic activity, and, usually, by government determination of investment, prices, and production levels" Now of course I don't believe that this theory is what will keep America the awesome country it is for years to come, but I do fear that regardless of what I want our kids could already be learning the so called values of Socialism if others get their way. This brings me to today's Easter Egg hunt.

What could be wrong with an Easter Egg hunt right? Eggs are brought, eggs are hidden, a dozen or so kids are let loose to charge through the playground looking for eggs, everyone gets ice-cream afterward . Super fun!! Well....sorta. First off each kid is asked to bring 6 eggs with a prize inside. Second they don't just hide the eggs, pull the trigger, and let the kids have a good time, first comes the lecture. You see everything needs to be done fairly so that nobody gets their feelings hurt once the dust settles. So the lecture goes "Now remember boys and girls everyone wants to have a good time finding eggs. Right? Right, so it's important we don't hurt anyone's feelings. What we are going to do is go out and find all the hidden eggs. Some of us may end up with more eggs than others. If you don't find a lot of eggs don't be sad it will be okay. If you find a whole bunch of eggs remember how fun it is to share. Once all the eggs are found we will count up each basket and make sure that everyone comes back in with 6 eggs. Then we can get the candy inside. Won't that be fun?"

To a 4 yr-old who is already hyped up on chicken nuggets and Kool-aid, this does sound like fun because though the lecture lasted 2 minutes they only heard four words...find eggs get candy. It's true. I was standing there and saw it on his face. He was dreaming of plastic eggs filled with Skittles. Thankfully I didn't have the heart to tell him that since they were going to be spreading the wealth once the hunt was over anyway, he may as well enjoy his time more productively by doing something like say sleeping off all the nuggets he just inhaled. Better yet put the bucket down, go to the potty, grab a cool sip of water, and get in line for your six eggs once everyone has done all the hard work for you. I mean either way he's still got a handfull of Skittles at the end of the hunt. At least my way he's not so busy gasping for air from all that running that he can't enjoy them right away.

I can say all of this now that the hunt is over because my child found about double his limit and not the other way around. Then again I would hope that had his basket yielded zero eggs I would be adult enough to teach him that the way things are supposed to work is that nobody gets anything for free. Only through hard work and determination can you actually achieve your dreams. By simply waiting around for someone to give you your share of the eggs not only do you not appreciate what you get, but your dreams will all ways be that....pretty clouds floating just out of reach. This is the way that things are supposed to work....yet tomorrow is pay day and for some reason somebody named FICA needs my money more than I do.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Clothes Make The Man

I started back to work today and honestly besides of course missing the family like crazy, the hardest part of the day was having to wear a buttoned up shirt and khakis. Corporate America is really laking in terms of what is considered business casual. Am I the only one that looks in their kids closest and wishes they could rock out with a red guitar blaze'n long sleeve T-shirt with the words Guitar Hero plastered all over the front in bright silver letters? Maybe show up at my cube tomorrow kick'n an old school Alvin N The Chipmunks T.

Even my kids shoes are cooler than anything I got. I'm not even talking about Adam's yellow feathered Big Bird sneakers, Alex right now has on this monkey footed thing that I would love to chill out in while working spreadsheets. Today wasn't a bad day, but it wasn't easy either. When I came home for lunch and picked up my brand new baby Alex. He was all cuddly and sleepy snugly. I looked down at him there in my arms wearing this tiny little gown and there in the middle next to a teddy bear button where the words "I need a hug"....I couldn't help but think that's exactly what I wished my shirt said today too.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pardon My Memory Loss

We have been home just a few days now and I have quickly realized that I completely glamorized what it's like having a baby at home. Months before Alex got here all I kept talking about was how I didn't mind waking up in the middle of the night. That baby's diapers don't smell that bad. That this baby thing was a breeze. Well clearly I was suffering from post traumatic sleep disorder, because getting up at 2 again at 4 and again at 6 is killing me. First off I'm going back to work on Monday and this new sleep pattern is really going to make for an interesting day as I stare at a computer for 8hrs. Second my memory is horrible. Yesterday Mandy sent me to the bank to make a deposit. She clipped a note to the slip and when I passed it on to the teller I started getting all these crazy looks. I think I even got a giggle or two. The lady behind the window very politely explained "I think this note was meant for you." As I read it I remembered moments earlier Mandy telling me the message was for me "I love you sweetie. Hurry home!!"

I think where I went wrong was remembering what it was like having a 6 month old. They coo, they giggle, they play with the hundreds of tiny toys you wave in their face. What I have is a 6 day old who sleeps, eats, poops, pees, opens his eyes for 5 seconds and starts the cycle all over again every two hours. Even Adam who is clearly confused about what all the fuss has been about is looking at me like I'm insane for talking up all that good times that were yet to be had the moment the baby was born. I think we both thought he would jump from Mandy's womb with a baseball bat in hand and point his finger towards the right field fence. Thankfully Mandy is in complete control over what, when, and how things are progressing sorta like a warden at a mental hospital.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Home Again

We made it home yesterday after being at the hospital for only a few days. All that went wrong when Adam was born went right with Alex. No yellow tint, no time under oxygen, and Mandy's hernia surgery went well too. Adam who has been spending the last few days being bounced between Gigi, Nani, and Mo couldn't wait to have everyone home and just loves to watch Baby Alex. The next few days will be spent getting some type of schedule worked out. Obviously things are a little out of whack at the moment. Alex didn't go to sleep until 4 a.m., but thankfully Adam let us sleep until 8, so we are feeling rested enough to make complete sentences. Today we are going to focus on getting Alex used to his crib and Adam getting used to being quiet.

I need to say thank you to all those who sent card, flowers, balloons, letters, comments, and are bringing us dinner each night this week. Each of you hold a special place in our hearts.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

In The Zero Hour...

We are just a few hours away from Baby Alex making his grand appearance and life is as chaotic as it gets. After getting to work an hour early, taking Mandy to the Doc, scrambling to get everything done by 5 o'clock, running to two banks, the post office, the gas station, grabbing dinner, packing 3 bags, calling all the grandparents, giving Adam a bath, making sure all is packed and ready to go.....I'm seriously wondering how I'm going to do all of this and take care of a baby.

We are scheduled to be at the hospital at 5 in the morning which means the alarm will probably need to be set for's 9 now which still gives me 6 hrs of sleep if I was to suddenly get knocked over the head and pass out within the next few minutes. Barring that I think we will be doing good to hit the hay by 11. Adam keeps pretending to be a baby and wanted to be rocked earlier tonight. I really wonder how he is going to handle his new role.

Wish us luck, pray for our health and quick return home, and I will post pics as soon as I can.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

In One Day....

One day and some odd hours left and the nerves are in full force. This week has flown by, but I just know tomorrow will go at a snails crawl. I need to say though (and I know I mentioned it the other day, but I'm going to again) after just walking in from Church, putting Adam to bed, and coming to the computer....I really have best Church family anybody could ask for. All night we were blessed with prayers, well wishes, and wonderful gifts from some of the nicest people I have ever met in my life. I know we are closer to some than others, but my heart goes out to everyone tonight who attended this evening service. No matter what happens this week, next month, or years down the road Mandy and I will never forget your love and support.

It's hard to believe that tomorrow is our last day as a family of three. In some ways it's kinda sad. Not because I'd don't want Alex to come, but because the dynamic is changing and I don't want Adam to feel like he's going to get lost in the mix. I love both my boys like crazy and I look forward to all the days ahead, but at the same time similar to what I went through before Adam came bringing with him an end to our days as simply a married couple change is a very scary thing.

I remember all the worry that Adam brought with him. The endless waking up to make sure he's just sleeping soundly and not something else. Then worrying when he does wake up crying. Trying like crazy to keep him healthy, but also making sure he's not being so guarded that he's not being able to experience life. What does this cry mean? Why is he doing that? Should I really be letting that person hold him? It all starts again this Friday....and even after all the worry and woe....I'm so excited I can't see straight.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

In Two Days.....

Only have time for a quick note. Too much fun was had at the weekly Idol party and it's way late. With only two days left after tonight everyone is on edge with anticipation for the big event. In the morning I'm taking Buttons in for a bath, a nail clip, and good brushing. He hates the cat crate so I'm counting on having a fight on my hands. Wednesdays are the longest day of the week because we all go to work/school then head straight to church for dinner before services. Several have asked if we mind them coming early Friday to be with the family. I say the more the merrier. Nerves are starting to kick in. Please pray with us that momma and baby all make it through without a hitch.

Monday, March 08, 2010

In Three Days....

You know I talk a lot about any and everything that goes on in my life, but what I don't talk enough about though is the person that has shared this adventure with me from the very beginning. I would even go as far as saying that without her there would be no adventure. Of course I am talking about my partner in life the beautiful Mandy. Like most guys I often get caught up in making fun of our wives, but honestly I somehow got extremely lucky the day she agreed to marry me.

People always say that working from home would be their dream come true, but what they don't realize is that when you work from home you never get a chance to leave the office behind. For the past 9 months Mandy hasn't missed a day even while dealing with swollen feet, a baby inside her having hiccups at all hours of the night, and a hernia. Through all of this she continues to amaze me by getting up every morning, grabbing a seat behind her desk, and putting in a full days work. Plus every other day she somehow manages to keep an eye on Adam while never missing a beat. If it were me and something was crawling around inside me for 9 months I would have committed myself to never leaving the couch soon after the 3rd week.

Here we are with only 3 days to go and she's still helping me get Adam ready for school in the morning, going grocery shopping with me in the evening, and staying up all night trying to plan a birthday party. Me I get to go to work all day and shrug off any of the days misfortune by simply getting up from my desk and walking away. With very few complaints she does all of this and the finances too. I love you sweetie....

Sunday, March 07, 2010

In Four Days....

For about $250 an hour while laying on a comfortable leather couch that more than likely costs more then I made all of last year, I'm sure a Psychologist would say that what I am experiencing now is a physical expression of what I am going though emotionally. That this cough that I am finally going to see the Dr. about in the morning is more of a state of mind problem than simply a case of bad timing and the early signs of bronchitis. For the moment I'm fine with just chalking it up to bad luck similar to the kind I have every year when I catch poison ivy just days before seeing my dad during the 4th of July. Furthermore it's just coincidence that I also had to make an unexpected trip to the Dr. for the exact same thing the week Adam was born. At this point though whether it be mental or physical I've got to shake this hacking cough and I've only got four days left to do it. When it first raised it's evil head I just blamed the harsh winter and started medicating myself with whatever prescription and over the counter medicine I could get my hands on....that was two months ago and obviously my way didn't work.

Spent the day working on all the electronics we will be taking. Charged the video camera, put extra batteries in by camera bags, emptied all the memory cards (should have about 6-8 gigs of photo storage space), and even got Adams camera ready for him so he could show what life looks like through his waist high perspective.

Only 3 days left and I think I figured out what I'm going to wear. Adam started telling people he was bringing Baby Alex to church next week. The installed car seats remind me that life will never be the same.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

In Five Days.....

Put some last minute touches on the room today, but mainly tried to spend as much time with Adam outside as we could. It seems I may have more work cut out for me than I originally considered. All day my little boy has been proving how smart he is and trying to weasel his way to Chuckie Cheese. For example from the backseat of the car this afternoon he yelled "No thank you I just ate!" when the lady asked to take our order. Another occurred as I finished a much delayed item on my Honey-Do list by painting the bathroom cabinet. Adam walked in and started crying cause he thought I was about to paint the rest of the house next including his blue room. The best though happened during a call to the Nani after he finally fessed up to being told that he would get to go to Chuckie Cheese this weekend (which he had been talking about all day). When she explained to him on the phone that she had not promised the much talked about trip, he quickly came back with "Well maybe we can talk about it later".

With the clocking ticking very loudly as we get closer to Alex's delivery date, I'm becoming increasingly concerned that I may very well be out numbered one day. I can keep up with a 4 yr-old and a baby, but both at the same time.....that's gonna be tricky. Even more frightening is that basically any trouble Adam ends up in is of his own making. If he colors on the wall or pours water all over the bathroom floor or tries to play golf inside, it's all because it sounded like fun at the time. In four years I will have an 8 yr-old and a 4 yr-old! The only thing more dangerous than a little boy with a large imagination is a little boy with a big brother just itching to light the fuse of mischief. These are things that nightmares and Problem Child sequels are made of.

It's getting late. Soon there will only be 4 days left. Wonder what I will wear for the big day.

Friday, March 05, 2010

In Six Days....

Less than a week now from Alex being born and I'm thinking about money. We have been very fortunate when it comes to finances. Given there is always room to improve, but we will never lack the important things in life like food, shelter, and iTunes cash. One thing that has changed since our first pregnancy is my insurance has gotten better. We figure Adam cost us between $5,000 and $7,500 dollars mainly because we were there for a not to jinx myself, but so far we have yet to pay a dime for any Baby Alex related medical expenses.

If we were forced I'm sure that we have enough entertainment in this house to keep us occupied 24hrs a day for several millennium, but there always seems to be something more fun to do. In some ways never being satisfied is what makes the world go around. Being satisfied means you are have accomplished your goal, crossed the finish line. While I am satisfied with where we have been and where we are, I'm always looking to tomorrow, next month, next year for something better. A better career, a better home, a better relationship with God. Trying to always appreciate the moment I am in, but at the same time wishing it was more than it was.

I think I got caught too many times living in the present and not looking to the future. Maybe if I had done more of some things and less of others, monthly bills wouldn't be a concern....than again maybe the more you have the more you want the less you appreciate the gift that is life.....with that in mind tomorrow I will be playing outside with Adam for awhile. This is our last weekend as a family of three.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

In Seven Days....

Alex is scheduled to be born next Friday the 12th (thank goodness the he is not coming on Friday the 13th) and up until the night before I'm going to be posting everyday just so I can capture everything that is going through this Blockhead mind of mine. At the moment as I sit listening to Mandy and I suffer with what appears to be yet another cold, I find myself thinking back to last weekend. We spent a couple days with some very close friends and got to see their youngest daughter take her first stroll around the house. With every passing day more and more of what life was like those first days surrounding Adam's birth is coming back to me. It's almost heartbreaking to see him curled up on the couch watching the Smurfs. Even though he's just weeks away from turning 4, in my eyes twenty years have gone by in what feels like a fraction of a second.

Sleep is becoming a concern as well as what to do about our current group of friends. I can't remember if I've mentioned it lately, but we have become very close with some of the greatest people we have ever had the privilege to meet. I hope things stay this way for many years to come and that our paths continue to cross the rest of our lives. With Adam I began getting up early so that when he arrived I would be used to getting less sleep. Once he was born, Mandy and I simply went to sleep when he did. Regardless if it was 6:00 at night or 6:00 in the morning. With two kids you can't do thing because...tada!!! There's another kid around that needs feeding, clothing, and harassing (that's the part I'm best at). In terms of the gang we spend about 3-4 nights a week laughing ourselves silly with one or all of them and I can't guarantee we will keep Alex couped up in this house for long because of it.

Well that's all for tonight.....

Monday, February 22, 2010


I typically don't play Hide-N-Seek with Adam and the main reason is because I lost him in a Peebles for about the longest 10 minutes of my life last summer. Another reason is that too much Hide-N-Seek eventually turns into Hide-N-Grab-Your-Leg-As-You-Walk-Past-The-Coffee-Table-Causing-You-To-Wet-Yourself. We tortured my grandmother with that game for years and to this day she still gives the dinning room table a wide birth when nobody is around. Plus with Alex just days away from making his first official appearance, neither Mandy nor I need any extra help becoming a nervous wreck. Still though the weather was nice this weekend and what kinda parent would I be if I didn't play with my kid outside while I can.

Hide-N-Seek is a pretty easy game to follow. Basically you have your Hiders and your Seekers. The Hiders hide, the Seekers seek, and everyone switches places at the end of the turn. Not too many ways to screw that up.....unless the Hiders start hiding before the Seekers know they are expected to be seeking. Adam and I found the perfect spot where we just knew Mommy wouldn't find us. There we were curled up inside that thimble sized tent just laughing at how funny it will be when Mommy came looking for us. Me looking feeling like Clifford The Big Red Dog stuck in a...well stuck in a pup tent.

Minutes went by. Then some more minutes. Then we almost took a nap. Then Adam made me crawl out and get his umbrella in case it rained. Then we spent several minutes discussing the downsides to opening an umbrella inside a space barely big enough to fit a Smurf. Then somebody cut the cheese and no matter how hard we insisted that the guilty party should claim it, the cheese remained cut by some mystery felon. Then a dog barked and several more minutes were spent as I tried in vain to explain my theory that maybe it was really a dragon just pretending to be a puppy and that we better run inside before our feet got set on fire. Still we sat waiting to be sought.

Finally we heard the call we had been waiting on "Hey Boys!!! Where are you???" We thought for sure we were caught. Then we heard it again, but this time from far off in the distance. It was at that point Adam decided we really had found a good hiding place and that Mommy might need a clue to where we were at "Hey Mommy you can't find us!! We are in the tent!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA"......nothing happened. The birds quit chirping. The dragon dog quit barking. The Seeker quit seeking. That's when I decided to us my never fail parent patented Read-Between-The-Lines tone "Hey Mommy you can't find us in the blue tent in the middle of the backyard. I bet you can't find us!!!"

Still no Seekers, but what we did hear was the sound of two very hungry bellys growling alone outside. Thus we proclaimed that not only had we won Hide-N-Seek, but as a reward we should be able to watch Phiney and Ferb while eating brownies.

Monday, February 08, 2010

I Can't Handle The Truth!!!

The Scene: Highland Park COC, Muscle Shoals Al.
The Time: Approx 8:20 Wednesday Feb 3 2010
The Crime: Pulling of fire alarm
The Accused: Adam Beck

In a lot of ways having a kid is like playing private detective. When they cry you have to uncover why. When they act like a monkey on speed you just gotta see what all the excitement is about. When they are silent something deep down inside of you just knows that all is not right in the world and things are very very wrong close by. Once they start school and are not with you for eight hours of the day, it gets harder to uncover what deeds they have spent their time doing. The trick of course is that it's not always what you say, but how you say it. For example "How was your day?" and "Did you have fun at school today playing with your friends?" would seem to be the same question, but will give you completely different answers. The first will get you a simple "Good" with the second you should end up with something resembling "Mikey hit me in the arm and I cried so the teacher said he might not be able to come back anymore then Taylor pinched Katie during nap time and I laughed and fell out of my cot and we had pizza for lunch"

What really makes this game of cat and mouse even more difficult is that sometimes you look at all the answers in front of you and come up with what appears to be a complete picture. So in the case of this week's crime you react and declare a guilty verdict. The guilty party is abolished to his bedroom without TV for the night. Plus he must hear us yell at him periodically for hours to come. And then there are times when after the sentence has been carried out new evidence comes to light. This new reveal leaves everyone feeling like the system failed them and no amount of ice cream can give them back the time they lost.

Looking back we asked the right questions "Did you pull the fire alarm?" "Yes Mommy" "Did somebody talk you into doing it?" "No Mommy" "Why did you do it?" "I don't know Daddy" "Do you understand what you did is wrong?" "Yes I pulled the fire alarm"

It seemed like an open and shut case until days later when after receiving another round of guilt Adam pleaded his case by saying "I was only trying to find the light Mommy"......and that's when we discovered the one thing we forgot to consider......where everyone was at the time the crime took place. You see it all started with a spotted puppy being thrown inside the church. The puppy got thrown by Adam. As he was attempting to find it in between the pews, they person in charge of turning off the lights that night did his job perfectly leaving 10 kids playing in a dark sanctuary. Adam comes screaming out to me begging me to find his beloved stuffed spotted puppy. I flip the switch, lights come on, puppy is found, lights go out, I exit stage left, and Adam along with several others find themselves in a windowless room in the dark. That's when my scared little boy did what he thought was the right thing to do, he found the first switch his tiny hands could reach and he flipped it. The ensuing panic sent everyone fleeing the dark room and Adam carrying the weight of the blame.

So now that it's all in the open what is a good detective to do? Should we stop fighting crime all together? Of course not. The guilt we will carry is our punishment and one night with no bed time is his reward.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Catching The Baby Bug All Over Again

It's hard to believe that we are about to take a trip on the baby train all over again. It seems just like yesterday that I posted:

Baby Fred where are you!!!Baby's room painted...check.Floors good and clean...check.Crib, cradle, swing, and rocking chair put together and safe...check check check check.House ready to be shown to the millions and millions of future visitors....check...sorta.Baby Fred......still not ready....oh ok we can wait......we'll just pass the time by watching TV....or ummm I know I can cut grass.......let's rent a thumps twiddling... TV's boring...grass not no good...BABY FRED WHERE ARE YOU!!!!!This is torture.....

Two weeks ago if you'd asked if we were ready for Alex to arrive, we would have scoffed and laughed at how insanely unprepared we were. As this week comes to a close though it seems that there isn't that much that needs to be done. The room has been painted (had to hire somebody cause I caught a bad cold), the bed will be put together this weekend, and for the most part all the furniture is in place. Nothing left to do now, but put the final touches down.

With all this activity it's easy to get caught up in the baby buzz and forget that we still have some time left on the clock. It didn't help that this week also found me playing with 9 month-old Henry at our Tuesday night Idol Party (easily the best part of the week). Ever where I look there are signs that a baby lives here now except of course the actual baby part. To make things even more interesting (and possibly the cause of this sudden spurt of activity) the Dr. told us last week that the planned due date of March 12th may be moved up a week. When you start dealing in weeks instead of months and you feel behind the curve on the baby prep as it is, loosing 7 days is just the thing to guarantee mass hysteria.

Although we are not yet there, with every curtain that is hung and every onesie that is put neatly in it's place I hear that same clock ticking as I did with Adam. Nothing seems to be catching my attention. I'm losing my focus at work and chalking up problems to "we will figure it out somehow". I can't help but wish this current lack of enthusiasm for anything other than family would last for years to come. My days are going by faster, my problems seem smaller, my faith in God is ever present. It's almost time Baby Alex.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Oliver's Tale

Adam has been going to the Hill since he was nine weeks old and except for a minor little issue here or there we have never had a problem with him being affected by what others in his class are doing. Like most kids he went through the biting phase. Occasionally he will come home spouting a new potty word. Nothing major though until "Oliver" joined his class.

The first time Adam mentioned Oliver he was referring to the fact that Oliver didn't have any friends because he was mean. Then a couple bruises were blamed on Oliver. This went on for a few weeks and suddenly something changed. Suddenly Oliver was the cool kid in class. The rebel that together with Adam loved to chase the girls and growl like wild dogs. We couldn't help but wonder which was better: Oliver as a friend? or Oliver as an foe?

We did some checking and it seems that Oliver is a foster child and hasn't had the best family life. Without going into great detail I'll just say that Oliver has had a harder life that most 4 yr-olds. With this bit of knowledge in our heads and hearts, Mandy and I tried not to chose Adam's friends for him. Instead we encouraged him to play with all his classmates equally. Making sure to ask how Katie or Ben were doing. Things settled down for a bit, then suddenly last week Adam came home saying that Oliver and him no longer had to listen to teacher. Two days later Adam proclaimed that him and Oliver no longer believed in God and didn't plan on going to Chapel.

Sadly this was the last straw. It was time to put an end to this Oliver business. We told Adam that when it came to Oliver he was to be nice, but he needed to play with other kids. This morning was our first day back since last week's talk concerning who Adam would obey and who he should not follow. As I was dropping Adam's things off (snacks, coat, sleeping bag, sleeping buddy, etc...) I noticed he kept hiding behind me. I also noticed Oliver's foster mom was talking to teacher. After I shook him loose a couple times, the teacher asked the most obvious question at the worst possible time...."What is wrong with you this morning Adam?"

My child never listens to me. I have to tell him 100 times to go to bed at night. 1,000 times to finish his cheeseburger if he wants Gummy Bears so bad. 1 million times to quit making that noise that sounds like the cat is about to throw up. Today he heard me loud and clear. He heard me so well that there at the most inappropriate time, he simultaneously proved that he had heard every word I had ever said since he was born and he that understood all of it by pressing play on his inner tape recorder by quoting "My Mommy and Daddy say I can't play with Oliver anymore" All I could do behind my scarlet face full of embarrassment was try to laugh it off and say "Adam....that's not exactly the what we said". Looking at my watch I sudden realised I was late for work and bolted.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

For Spenser With An "S"

I can't remember when I first wondered into that bookstore and picked up my first copy, but if asked I could describe the worn out cover. The blue-green paper with white creases created by others who had traveled its pages before me. That copy of Taming A Seahorse I was holding would be my first introduction to my eventual favorite author Robert B. Parker. I was about to take a master class in how to write a detective novel. I had heard about the character of Spenser from his For Hire series. Robert Urich played him on TV and forever in my mind became the image and voice of the character. I read a couple. Then maybe one or two more. Searching the local library and bookstores for anything I could get my hands on from Parker. Then I discovered Early Autumn. To this day I am in awe whenever I see a copy tossed aside at a yard sale or flea market. The story is one involving a bitter divorce, an angry vengeful father, and of course Spenser making the touch choices the everyone refuses to take responsibility for. The father kidnaps the son, the mother hires Spenser to get him back, but nobody stops to consider what is best for the child not even the confused boy himself...that is until Spenser decides it's time to teach the boy about what it means to be a man.

With the help of his best friend Hawk, true love Susan, and Pearl his beloved dog, Spenser routinely set aside money, fame, love, and his own life to do what was right. Sometimes he did it for revenge, sometimes for honor, sometimes it was simply personal. Every case haunted him and every decision tore at his soul for years to come. This week Robert B. Parker left this world doing what he loved to do more than anything in his desk in the middle of writing the latest Spenser novel. In total Parker wrote over 75 books a good majority of which featured Spenser. While my life has changed several times over the past 30 years one thing has never changed, twice I year I go running to the book store desperate to get a copy of his latest novel. Something that will only happen a few more times as the last of his previously written books are released. I don't know if I have ever walked into a bookstore and not stopped to see which of his books they had. Though the man and his work have been put to rest, I know I'll never forget them. Thank you Mr. Parker. You taught me how to read.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Birthdate For All The Little Feet

March 12 will be a special day for the Blockhead clan as it's the day we have picked to welcome Alexander Brock Beck into this world. Since Mandy is having a C-Section we were able to be a little flexible about when the big day was going to take place. The original date was going to be the 19th, but Adam's B-day is the 20th so we pleaded with the Doc to have a week in between. This day is also special because if what I am being told is correct it will also be the day that Little Foot arrives.

I've neglected to mention him here yet, but Little Foot has been around since the first of November. He came into existence when out of frustration for Adam's complete dislike for his little brother's first name (he tended to scream "I don't like that name!" whenever he heard it) I decided to have a little talk with Mr. Too Big For His Britches. Some talks can be put off till the time is right say maybe in the bedroom before lights out. Some talks like this one just have to happen in middle of church in a classroom off to the side while everyone is praying in the other rooom. Anyway there I am trying to explain how Adam can't keep screaming he hates the name Alex because it is starting to make his Mommy cry, when I get the idea that Alex can have a nickname and Adam can pick it. "I can even call him Little Foot, Daddy?" "Yes you can even call him Little Foot."

I don't know how it happened, but somewhere between walking out one room and into the other Little Foot went from being the nickname of his little brother to the name of the baby Adam was keeping in his belly. You can only imagine the look I got from Mandy as her 3 yr-old whispered in church "It's okay Mommy I like the name Alex....and I've got Little Foot in my belly too!" For weeks afterward whenever someone would tell Adam that they'd heard the good news he responded "Thanks! It's name is Little Foot and he lives in my belly" all the while patting his pooched out tummy. Soon Little Foot quickly became a reason for second bowls of ice-cream (he ate the first one and Adam didn't get any) and an extra hour of T.V (Little Foot prefers Scooby Doo while Adam wants to watch Cars).

We thought the end of Little Foot was in sight when Adam proclaimed that on Christmas Day, Little Foot would be coming out of his belly once and for all. When the big day past with no dinosaur to show, we couldn't help but wonder aloud "Where is Little Foot? I thought he was coming out of your belly on Christmas?" That's when with those eyebrows furloughed and hands palms up at his side, Adam perfected his new talent for sarcasm "Well is Alex here yet?" "No" we answered. " Than Little Foot's not coming out either"

With this we can only presume that with the birth of Baby # 2 there will be a second birth...the birth of a dinosaur that lives in the belly of Adam Beck....otherwise known as Little Foot.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

I don't know how much stock I put into the idea that each person has their own spirit animal. According to one site ancient Shamans believe "that everyone has power animals - animal spirits which reside with each individual adding to their power and protecting them from illness, acting similarly to a guardian angel. Each power animal that you have increases your power so that illnesses or negative energy cannot enter your body. The spirit also lends you the wisdom of its kind. A hawk spirit will give you hawk wisdom, and lend you some of the attributes of hawk."

When we got ready to decorate Adam's room we decided on frogs for some reason. Frog blankets. Stuffed animal frogs. Foam frogs stuck with Velcro tape to his walls. It was the perfect animal for our first tadpole. In doing some research I've found that the Frog represents a reminder of common bonds with all of life, a rebirth, a transformation. Frogs are singers of old songs. In some ways this is dead on because my life completely transformed when he was born. Plus everyday he seems like a different person.

For Alex we have settled on Elephants. Don't ask us why, but we are already stocking up on Elephant lamps, bed spreads, wall paintings. Elephants represent strength, royalty, connection to ancient wisdom, confidence, and patience. Obviously it's too early to tell if this is correct, but I sure hope he gets some patience. It would be nice if somebody in this family had some.

I took a quiz to find what my Spirit Animal was and it turns out I'm a Tiger! Apparently I am REACTIVE. Impetuous and strong, I follow my instincts. If a problem arises, my reactions are swift and decisive. I live by my intuition, and can sense things that may not be so obvious. I can be counted on in an emergency, but not necessarily in a delicate or complex situation. Sounds about right to me.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Born To Be A Gleek

Music runs in our family. Mandy and I have a tremendously large CD collection and my iPOD is one of my most valued possesions. The first 9 months of Adam's life were filled with nights of me rocking him to sleep singing the latest Top 40 hits. He even got a guitar for Christmas and played me the Devil Gets In Trouble this afternoon. Few people know that I have an uncle that is a Grammy winning Christian song writer. If what we've seen the past few months is any indication, Alex may just come out dancing and wanting an MP3 player of his own. Everytime the music starts, it's as if a night club has opened up in Mandy's tummy.

This brings me to Glee the hugely popular Fox show about a group of highschool rejects all connected by their love of music through Glee Club. Each episode features 4-5 remakes which regularly reach #1 on Itunes the day after they are aired. A couple of CD's have been put out (which we own both of), the first 13 eps hit the stands last week (picked that up too), and there are plans for a concert next summer. One thing that makes this show so special to us is that whenever Alex hears a song from the soundtrack he goes crazy! Recently Mandy has even gone as far as listening to all that Groove Shark has to offer for us Glee fanactics or Gleeks as we are called.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Blockhead Family Secrets Revealed!!!!

Since most of my readers are local you have probably heard the news by now that we have settled on a name for our upcoming (only 8-10 weeks to go) baby boy and the winner is Alexander Brock Beck. The middle name is after my brother, but the first name we came up with on our own and simply liked the sound of it. Now I could go on and on about how Xander may be a possible nickname (after the sidekick from Buffy The Vampire Slayer which I own every episode of) or how the name Lex has been tossed around (a nod to the classic Superman villain), but I don't want Mandy to rethink it so I'm not going there yet. Oh and in case you are keeping track I'm officially pulling off the mask with this second post of the decade.

While I will no doubt refer to myself as Charlie Blockhead more times than not in the future, fake names feel so Aught Two Thousand. This decade already seems to be going by so fast as if it was shot out of a cannon, who has time to remember what they called everyone 355 posts ago.

For those keeping score at home the Cast of Characters include:
Charlie Blockhead = Bill Beck
Lucy Blockhead = Mandy Beck
Fred Blockhead = Adam Frederick Beck
Introducing our latest Blockhead in the making.....
Alexander Brock Beck

I was fortunate to have several days off during the holidays and with the time came a chance to do something I've been meaning to do since the end of year one, specifically make a hard copy of everything I've posted here. In doing so I realised a couple things 1)The frequency of my posts drastically dropped this year. Before '09' I was averaging 100 post a year for the past 3 years. In '09' that was cut in half. Some of that was because I changed jobs and since I can come home for lunch I don't have an hour to kill in the middle of everyday. At first I thought it was that my freelance work got in the way, but like everything else in this horrible economy that too just about became extinct. If I had to say what happened and I feel I do, I think the answer would be that I was able to spend more time than ever with 3 yr-old Adam and pregnant Mandy. Consequently with that came some writers block due to feeling like every time I sat in front of the keyboard I had to try to cram all the fun into one giant post. 2) I haven't talked nearly enough about how much I am looking forward to being a dad the second time over and all the new challenges having two kids will bring. I love what I have created here and plan to continue to write until they take my keyboard away. The solution I've come up with is lowering the size of my posts while also increasing their frequency. Similar to what I did yesterday and obviously not what I'm doing today.

Now that I have exposed every one's secret identity as well as shed some guilt I've been carrying I want to leave with a funny thing that is happening more and more as we approach the due date (March 19th). Growing up my mom always had trouble talking to us kids when she got flustered because our names both started with the same letter. The result was that to this day I am known as Brock-Bill and my bother is of course Bill-Brock. Well if you believe that history repeats it self you may find it amusing to know that I have recently been caught calling Adam Alem and have even done the reverse by referring to Alex as Adex.

I know....somewhere there is a psychiatrist's couch with my name on it.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Feeding The Beast

What I need to be writing about is the new baby that is due by March 19th. I should be posting about Christmas and New Year's adventures that were had. I've got a ton of pics that I need to put up. A thousand funny stories that need to be jotted down....but as is the case the majority of time in order to get to the good stuff I gotta clean out all the junk that is getting in the way.

Today's junk is brought to you by all that crap they stuff into the vending machines at work, specifically the Boston Cream Honey Bun. Why is that I can be home for 4 days and barely eat anything, but the moment you sit me behind a desk my stomach starts growling? I'm like Pavlov's dog drooling the moment my rear end touches leather office chair. If I was at home my first meal wouldn't even happen till 11, but at the office I'm hungry by 10 and that's only 3 hours after I've eaten it any wonder I'm ready for Fred to learn how to tie his shoes so he can get mine since I can't seem to bend over anymore?