Never enough

No matter how many things you manage to accomplish, something always slips through the cracks.  Lately it has been the blog.  There is just never enough time.  At the moment, Michelle and Logan are playing with a beach ball in the front hallway, and Lawson is asleep, so I’m stealing a moment to write.

Since my last post in January our family has done a few things.  Most recently, Logan went for 4 days with his grandmother “Nina” to Alabama to visit cousins.  He had a really good time playing with Cousin Jeremiah.  Working backwards, we spent a long weekend in St. Louis with some other cousins a few weeks back.  Logan and Lawson both had a blast.  Logan got to hang out with his older cousins, Gabby and Betsy.  (9 and 12)  They were amazingly helpful with the boys and Logan especially had LOTS of fun with them.  We went to the City Museum (http://www.citymuseum.org/site/).  That place is flat out awesome!  They have done amazing things with ordinary stuff to make the most unique playground in the world.

The outdoor playground part at City Museum.

 

It doesn’t look it from this pic, but that tunnel Logan and I are in is 8 stories up in the air. That was not at all fun to turn around inside.

 

We also have spent a lot of time doing stuff around the house.  One of Logan’s favorite things to do now is “dig for treasure”.  Whenever we go outside to weed or plant stuff, he brings a shovel and digs for treasure.

I don’t mean to exclude Lawson.  He is growing like kudzu.  Logan weighs in at 35 lbs at 4.5 yrs old, Lawson weighs 31.  Lawson has grown 2 inches in the last 3 months.  They wear the same size shorts.  Let me remind you that Lawson turned 20 months old yesterday. He is huge.  EVERYTHING his big brother does, Lawson wants to do.  He follows big brother Logan around and mimics everything he does.  It really is fun to watch.  At the last doctor’s appointment, we asked, because we were a bit concerned that Lawson doesn’t talk much at this point.  The doc said 8-10 words is normal.  Lawson says at least 20 words, not words anyone outside the family would necessarily understand, but we do, and he learns more all the time.  We had tubes put in his ears a few months back, and that has made a world of difference for him.  He is no longer fighting some sort of infection all the time.

Our lives are busy, but a good busy.  I’ve gotten over my guilt for not posting updates more frequently.  I am enjoying spending time with the boys and watching them grow.  I’ll choose that over sitting behind a laptop typing about it any day.

 

The boys in one of my favorite stores.

 

Daddy and the boys.

 

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2013 moving toward better days

Since my last post in October a lot of things have happened.  My father in law Marvin, finally lost his battle with cancer in November.  It is unfortunate that both boys will grow up without grandfathers, but Michelle’s mom makes up for it in my opinion.  She absolutely adores the boys and spends as much time with them as she is able.  I didn’t have the benefit of a grandmother growing up, and judging by how they boys both react to her, I missed out.

Illness has hit our family hard in the past few months.  I had pneumonia, and slightly more than a week after I beat that, Lawson came down with strep, which meant we all did because he couldn’t tell us his symptoms.  Finally all of us seem to be healthy.

Not all the news is bad.  We finally sold our house that we moved out of in August of 2011.  That means that we no longer have 2 mortgages, electric, water, garbage collection, sewage, gas bills each month.   You cannot imagine the relief that came along with getting out of that financial drag.

The boys continue to be a delight.  Lawson’s language is developing since we had tubes put in his ears.  He is still a bit behind in that respect, but given that he had so many ear infections, and they were present for so long, it isn’t a surprise.  He says, Uh oh, mama, dada, thank you, down, no, bye bye and makes a few noises that aren’t words, but we understand what he means when he uses them.   He shows an understanding of what is going on around him so I know he is paying attention to things.  It is just a matter of time until he catches up.

The boys had a great Christmas.  Santa brought some toys that were surprising.  One was a roller coaster…..let that sink in for a minute. Yes, really, a roller coaster.  It is made by the same folks who make those backyard plastic playhouses, and the little red cars all kids seem to have.  It is 10 feet long, and has a couple of hills.  They really like it.  They other thing is an indoor trampoline.  No, it isn’t 10 ft across,  it is about 2 ft across, and has supports that hold a net all around it.  I don’t think a day has passed since Christmas that those toys have sat idle for 24 hrs.

The new year has begun, and I did not make a resolution.  I am just going to continue to work toward being the best husband, dad and employee I can be.  The rest is outside my control anyway.

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Time flies.

Ok, so it has been 4 months since my last post.  I’d apologize again, but like I said in the last post, being a dad takes priority.  Since my last post, Lawson has been struggling with ear infections almost constantly since late May.  So, in late September he got tubes put in his ears.  We just had his follow up visit and his ears are clear and dry.  As a side effect, he moved from walking to running well.  His language skills are a little behind simply because for 3 months he had trouble hearing.  He now says, “Uh oh” when he drops something, so he is catching up pretty quickly.  As a result of frequent trips to the doctor, we have an accurate weight on Lawson.  He is right at 26 lbs.  Logan, who is coming up quickly on 4 yrs old, weighs 33 lbs.

They wrestled today just a little bit, and it was not surprising that when Lawson threw himself on top of Logan on the floor that Logan was surprised to find he could not move him off.  The teens promise to be an interesting time in our home. 

Logan continues to grow like a weed.  He has developed a love for Curious George and enjoys his weekly gymnastics class.  He has also developed a fear of thunderstorms.  Nearly every time we get a night time thunderstorm, he ends up in the middle of our bed.  At least he sleeps well on those occasions. 

I continue to be amazed by both boys.  The other day Logan said to me, “Do you know how much I love you daddy?”  I replied, “No, how much?”  He replied, “500.”  That is the biggest number he knows at this point in his life, and now that has become a thing between Michelle and I. 

The unexpected little things are the hidden gems in the journey of a parent.  When you walk into the daycare to pick up Lawson, and he hears your voice, turns, throws both hands up in the air and runs to you grinning.  Or, when you drop off Logan in the morning and he get distracted upon walking in the room, and I turn to leave and he comes running out saying, “Daddy!  I need my hug!” 

As long as I am on this journey, it will be the little gem like moments that I treasure and that I plan to continue relaying here.  Tune in next time for the further adventures of L&L productions.

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Ok, so I was busy.

Being the father of two kids under 4 years old is more time consuming than I expected.  That isn’t a complaint, just a statement of fact.  Blog posts become a much lower priority when you have a crying baby or a 3 year old saying, “Daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy.”   So, now for an update.  I’ve been kicking around the idea of a blog post featuring “Loganisms”.  But since I haven’t posted in 2 months, I’ll just make that part of this one, not the whole thing. 

Logan likes to get words almost right, but put his own spin on them.  The other day we were at his Nina’s house (grandmother) and he was picking up acorns and smashing them on the driveway.  He was calling them pinecorns. 

He doesn’t drink lemonade, he drinks lemolade.  Popsicles are poppy-sicles.  Railroad crossing gates are ding ding dongs.

Just about every night when I get him from daycare, he asks, “What are we going to do tonight, go to Everett’s house?”  One of the really wonderful things about having family close by is that he has a bond, and also an expectation of interaction with his extended family that I never did growing up.  He EXPECTS to have dinner every night with either his cousins, his grandparents or some mix of the two, and is disappointed when dinner is at home with no other attendees except his immediate family.  Personally, I think that is a pretty cool way to grow up,  having your cousin be one of your best friends. (Everett, Logan’s cousin is adopted too bye the way) 

He reminds me of my relationship with my own brother when I see him interact with Lawson.  He loves to make Lawson laugh, and Lawson pretty much will laugh at anything and everything Logan does.  It makes for some magical and heart warming sounds.  Lawson giggling, Logan making silly noises and giggling when Lawson laughs.  That is the good stuff.  Logan also likes very much to “hold Lawson”.  The English translation is, grab his little brother as tightly as he can, and lay on top of him. (this is the part that reminds me of my brother, not that laughing part) I can already see that there will be much wrestling in our future. 

Michelle landed a new job and starts work next Monday.  That means some pretty big changes for the little guy.  He has had the luxury of having his mommy at home with him since November.  We do have him on the list to go to the same daycare as Logan, but until a spot opens up in August, his Nina has graciously agreed to provide daycare for him.  He is growing like Kudzu (the vine that ate the south, for you Yankees).  He is over 20 lbs now, and only crawls long enough to get to a vertical surface so he can pull up and walk along it.  Since my last post he has started to transition to “solid” foods.  (sorry Gerber, but that stuff isn’t really solid)  It cracks me up every time I see it, but he LOVES dill pickles.  Of course, with only 2 teeth, he isn’t really eating it, but he puts it in his mouth, turns the juicy part toward his only two teeth on the bottom, and squeezes all the juice out.  Yes, he eats the whole pickle that way.  And, if he sees one and doesn’t have his own, he reaches and does his little, “Uh, uh!” indicating he wants one.  

To support my previous statement about him growing like crazy, Michelle just got them matching outfits for some occasion.  Logan’s shorts were 24 month, and we had to put an elastic strap on his waist to keep them from sliding down over his non-existent behind. Mind you, Logan is 3 1/2 yrs old.  Lawson, on the other hand is not yet 9 months old, and his pants were 18 month size.  He is a HOSS.  I have a feeling it won’t take 25-30 years for Lawson to be the brother that is winning those wrestling matches like it did me.  

Memorial Day was a fun time.  We had friends and family come to the house and we did the normal grilling out etc.  But, Michelle got the boys a Slip N Slide.  (I was never allowed to have one, so I thought this was very cool)  Well, I’m here to tell you that the ads for Slip N Slide are misleading.  They show plenty of water and easy sliding.  Our experience was that the water flow was like an asthmatic grandfather blowing the water through the hose.  We put a sprinkler on it at the top and then it worked ok.  So, if you are in the market for something like a Slip N Slide, save your money and get a big sheet of plastic at the Orange or Blue store and put a sprinkler on it. It will work just as well if not better and cost a lot less.

I have run out of time to write.  Until the next time.

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Has it really been that long?

I just realized that my last post was in January.  Wow…….

So, Lawson is now 6, going on 7 months old.  He is cutting 2 teeth, and still doesn’t like to sleep at night consistently. He is still happy and healthy, pushing 20 lbs. He laughs now, and his brother and his cousin Jillian are his favorite comedians. He does not yet crawl, but he does manage to move himself backwards when put on the floor.  

He also has absolutely no fear of the dogs, and is responsible for breaking many a necklace.  He also likes to pull hair, which doesn’t bother me at all.  (I’m bald)  All in all, he is a typical 6 month old and we are happy to have him.

Logan has had a challenge or two in the last couple of months.  We were at his cousin’s  house, and he and his cousin Everett (5) were playing.  They were getting up on an ottoman and jumping on a pile of pillows on the floor. Well, as luck would have it, Logan missed the pillows.  He complained that his heel hurt the next day, so we took him to the doctor.  Well, we took him to a pediatric orthopedist actually.  The doc diagnosed that he had a break in his leg.  The doc described it this way: “If you take a green twig and twist it, it doesn’t break cleanly, it sort of comes apart into stringy sections.  That is what Logan’s leg has done.”  I must have looked horrified, because the doc then added that this was entirely normal in kids his age, and they heal quickly, easily, and without any long term impact.  Whew.  So, Logan was in a walking cast for 2 weeks, and then a removable boot thing for another 2 weeks.  Now he is running as if nothing ever happened.  

As for the challenges we as a family have faced, some are better, some are not.  We still have two houses, but with one rented, that concern is temporarily off the plate.  Michelle has not yet found a job, but keeps tossing her hat in the ring, and does continue to get interviews.  I will know in about 3 days whether or not I will be required to go to Evansville Indiana for an extended period.  If my company doesn’t sign a new contract with their union, I’ll have to go there and play telephone installer for a month or until they settle the strike. I am not at all excited about that possibility. 

We had some family in town a few weeks ago and Logan got to play with his cousin Sayer, and Lawson got to play with his cousin Ella.  Both are close in age to our boys, and they each had a great time.  

Marvin and Donna, Michelle’s parents, have moved to our town and are living there full time now.  Logan asks almost every day if he can go see his “Nina and Papa”.  Marvin’s medical situation is stable at present.  He will be undergoing some new treatment starting very soon, and we hold hope that it will improve his situation.  

Spring is in full swing here.  Some things have already finished blooming, and grass cutting started a month ago.  Because of budget concerns, our home improvement projects are not likely to be big ones this year.  I have made good use of my “Weed Dragon” weed burner.  It uses propane to burn weeds instead of using chemicals.  I’ve declared war on the privet, and whenever I need to take out some frustration, I go cook some weeds.  It actually makes weeding fun.  

We made a trip up to Cincinnati to see my nephew get married over St Patrick’s Day weekend.  It was great to see family and get away for a few days.  For any of my Cincy friends who are reading this, please don’t be offended.  We had lots of family stuff to attend to, and we didn’t visit any friends, only family.  

My mom had surgery recently for an aortic aneurysm.  It was successful, but she is taking a while to bounce back from the stress of it all.  

I wish this was more of a heart felt story rather than a laundry list of things that happened, but I felt obligated to catch up with this post.   With all the stressful things going on recently, I haven’t had the same spark I have had in the past to write the blog, but I will try to keep my eyes open for those “kid moments” that seem to inspire my most heartfelt writing, and post those soon. 

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Where have I been?

Lawson gives a big grin to his cousin Jillian.

 

Well, I’ve been away because I was hesitant to write about the things going on in our lives.  I got clearance from “the boss” and so here goes nothing.

Back in November, Michelle got laid off.  When she got laid off, her company car went away as well.  Well thank you very much, cut the income and slap us with a huge unplanned expense at the same time.  Ouch.   We managed.  She got a good used car that is reliable, safe, and fuel-efficient.

Let me go back a little bit in time. (picture Wayne’s World doodly doo motion here)  Back in August, we moved to a new house.  Then in September, we got Lawson. Both of those were rather significant expenditures.  No need to talk numbers, but suffice it to say they were both budget busters.  So, to continue painting the picture….we had two mortgages when Michelle got laid off.  Ouch.

But wait, there’s more!  In December, Marvin, Michelle’s dad began having a serious medical concern.  I don’t have clearance to write about all the details, but suffice it to say it was serious enough to require hospitalization, and at present he is still in the hospital.  (though that may change soon)

Enough with the negative stuff, now for the positive.  As a result of some personal growth training I went through in our days back in Cincinnati, I have learned to try to always identify the opportunity in any given situation, no matter how challenging.  (yes Gator, I  paid attention)  The biggest and most significant positive is the fact that I now am the proud parent of two sons!  Lawson is growing like a weed.  He is in 6-9 month clothes (at 4 months old)  with the sleeves and pant legs rolled up.  He is happy and healthy, and so is Logan.

Logan is almost completely potty trained.  We have had a couple of accidents, but by and large that one can be checked off the to do list.

We also found a renter for the old house.  It was a family whose own home had burned just before Christmas.  They had a need for a 4 bedroom home to rent for a relatively short period of time, and we needed just that.  We gave them our old dining room furniture since theirs was ruined.  That felt pretty good.

Work has been a positive for me as well.  Sometimes hard work does pay off.  I’ve been recognized for what I know and can do, and while I am not at liberty to give specifics, suffice it to say that good things are in the works.

I am grateful to have good friends who are supportive and caring.  In fact, I read something interesting today.  Psychologists have come up with a method to measure happiness.  (Don’t ask how, I have no idea)  In their findings, they determined that a $10,000 raise in pay, on average, raised a person’s happiness by 2%.  A good and trusted friend raised it by 9%.  Also, there was only a very slight difference in the happiness levels of people who were millionaires over those of us who are everyday Joe’s.   It is an interesting article, and here is the link if you care to read it yourself.  One other point the article made was that people who display an attitude of gratitude are measurably happier.

Sure, times are tough for our little family at the moment, but I believe the reason for all of this, while not clear at the moment, is all part of God’s plan, and will have an outcome more positive than I can conceive.  In the meantime, we are paying our bills, looking for opportunities, and being grateful for what we have.

I’d like to request that you please keep Marvin in your prayers.

Thanks for reading.

Categories: Adoption, Happiness, Life Success, Self improvement | 2 Comments

A new Loganism.

Michelle told me that Logan was looking on while she got Lawson dressed after a bath recently.  He noticed Lawson’s little nipples and said, “His sprinkles are tiny.”

You’re welcome.

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Always surprising.

Lawson is growing like a weed.  He is wearing 6 month old clothes at 2 months old.  He is rolling from his back to his side, not all the way over yet, but it won’t be long.  He is also cooing and making other pre-talking noises.

Logan continues to surprise me on a regular basis.  He was at his grandparents house on Friday while I moved some boxes for them.  I learned later, that he told his Papa that he needed to get up and sit on the couch.  (He was seated in a recliner) When Papa asked why he needed to move, Logan said, “That is Nina’s chair.”   I think he may have seen her in it once or twice.

Logan also amused me by adopting one of my phrases.  I say, “Holy Smoke” fairly frequently.  It sounds much funnier coming from a two year old.

I think the holiday and the changes in schedule because of it have been a little tough on Logan this week.  He seemed tired most of the day today.  I put him down for his nap about 1 pm.  When I left at 5:30 he was still asleep.

As I sit here in my in-laws house, watching Ole Miss get creamed by Mississippi State we are discussing absolutely inane products offered by Hammacher Schlemer.  I don’t really see the need for a $700 laser hair rejuvenator.  Yup, I live quite the life.

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Hello again.

Sorry for the long absence.  Between moving, baby, and work, there has been little time for anything else.   We went this past weekend to Cincinnati, where my family still lives.  They got to meet Lawson, and see how Logan has grown.  I didn’t think much about it, but when my mom was struck by just how much Lawson looked like Logan at 2 months old, I dug out some baby pictures.  She was right.  The similarities are amazing.

A 500 mile drive with a 2 1/2-year-old and an infant is not something I would strongly recommend that you attempt.  There are long stretches of road where there is little or nothing to see other than trees and fields.  Those of us who are of the “pre in-car entertainment era” this is not that big a deal.  For kids who have only known wireless internet, and on demand video, long stretches of analog only cell phone access means that they no longer have access to entertainment.  Logan is not an addict of the TV, and by no means is he an internet addict,  but when you try to explain why he can’t see Sesame Street or Barney on the IPad he has always accessed it on, it is difficult for him to grasp.  Tears ensued.

When you stop a moment to think about perspective it is shocking.  Neither of my sons will grow up in a world of black and white TV.  No getting up to change the channel or adjust the antenna.  They have never seen a rotary dial phone.  Almost all phones have no wires.   The internet is everywhere all the time.  TV isn’t something you have to schedule your life around if you want to see a particular show.  In fact, when we were in Cincinnati, Logan was watching a cartoon, and said to me, “Pause it, I need to go potty.”  The hotel did not have a DVR, so I had to try to explain why I couldn’t pause the TV.  That did not go well.   I downloaded a song off of ITunes that he liked, and played it for him in the car.  As most 2-year-old kids would, he asked that it be played again and again.  In his world, this is no feat of engineering, but I remember when that would require rewinding, or worse yet, it simply couldn’t be done.   Logan often asks Michelle or I to take a picture of him doing something.  We comply, because we pretty much always have a cell phone on our person with a camera.  10 years ago, that wouldn’t have happened.

Our society has changed dramatically in the last 20 years.  Things that I consider luxuries are “standard equipment” for my kids.  I wonder what the future will hold for them that I can’t even imagine now.  Maybe they will look back on tube radio that I have that belonged to my dad and his father and write a similar blog post fondly recalling the days when mobile internet coverage was not everywhere, and  you actually had to have a phone the size of your palm to make a call.   In the meantime, I will just count my blessings that my boys will have things I couldn’t imagine at their age.

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Settling into a routine.

Well, its been three weeks since Lawson joined our happy little clan.   As long as his basic needs are met, he is absolutely a joy.  He has gained more than a pound, and is lifting his head regularly.  Michelle has been taking all the night duty stuff, and I have picked up other aspects of daily life to help even the load.  My cooking skills are improving.

The thoughtfulness of friends has been amazing.  The words of encouragement, cards, and emails have been much appreciated.  A neighbor from the early 80’s, Mr. Bolton, knitted a sweater for Lawson (she did one for Logan when he was born as well)  (bye the way, Hi Polly! I’m told you read the blog)

This weekend Michelle’s aunt, niece, and her two kids came to visit, as well as Michelle’s great aunt.  We had a house full, as did Michelle’s sister Deb.   Michelle allowed me to have time to pursue stuff around the house while she and her family did fun things around the area.  I busted my behind to clean out and organize the storage shed, and then work toward getting my workshop organized.  Installing hanging cabinets by yourself is not at all fun,  but it is finally starting to come together.Logan calls Lawson either, “my baby” or “baby Lawson”, and is always wanting to hold him, hug him and kiss him.  Some day when they are 15 and 13 and screaming at each other, maybe I will have them both read this and show them the photographic proof.

Logan holds his little brother Lawson.

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