Happiness

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.

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

Excitement builds

Well, a week from today I should be holding my newborn baby son if all goes as planned.   We had a great conversation with Linda, our birth mom today.  This time around it is so much different from the last time.  Linda is a part of our family.   She has managed to put our concerns to rest.   We have plans to have an afternoon of carry out in the park and watching Logan play next Wednesday.  How cool is that? 

We were up front with Linda and asked her if she wanted us to bring Logan or not.  She said she’d love to see him, so he is going with us.  It is kind of like deja-vu because she will have her same support person with her, and the same social worker will be with her in the delivery room. 

By the way, Logan  is already calling his brother by his name.  He knows which room is his brothers’ room.  He has been playing with a toy from Michelle’s childhood while in the bathtub, holding the plastic baby in his lap and saying he is holding his brother.  Of course, we realize there will be a period of adjustment, but I think he is at least going into this with a positive attitude. 

Tune in next week to hear more!

Categories: Adoption, Happiness, Parenting | 1 Comment

Changes.

Changes galore are in the works.  We have a new crib for family member yet to be named.  Logan’s new room has been painted with cool new mural like things on the walls.  We are slowly moving stuff to the new house.  We found a reliable contractor to get some work done at the present house and the new house.  That lifts some psychological burdens about how to get everything done before the new guy arrives.   Michelle has arranged movers and she found the contractor.  I was out-of-town much of last week, so she has been the rock of the family.   All this is the “stuff” that occupies our time and thoughts while we get prepared for our new arrival.

I’ve purchased two wireless IP cameras that have full pan and tilt functionality.  Yes, I am a geek. We can watch both cameras from our laptops, and our phones.

Lastly, I need to share another Logan story.  The little man and I went for a drive this morning to pick up my mower from the repair shop.   It was about 20 miles away, so there was plenty of time for us to chat.  On the way home, I had on Sirius/XM’s Classic Vinyl station.  Edgar Winter’s “Free Ride” came on and Logan said, “Loud Daddy”.   We continued driving and listening to 70s era classic rock, and Logan was chair dancing the whole time.  He has got to be the coolest 2-year-old on the planet.

Categories: Adoption, Happiness, Humor, New House, Parenting, Tech stuff | 3 Comments

Exciting things are afoot.

Now that we’ve talked to all the family members, I’m allowed to post something about the exciting new prospect in our future.  Bear in mind Michelle and I have talked about this extensively and whether or not you agree with us, we have come to a decision.  We were contacted by The Adoption Center of Choice, our adoption agency, to let us know that Logan’s birth mom was pregnant.  She had asked them to contact us to see if we were interested in adopting Logan’s half brother. (I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in…..)

Most adoptive families have to create their family unit by way of assembling children from different parents,  and while the kids grow up as brothers and sisters, they are not blood relatives.  Logan will actually grow up with his blood half brother.  How cool is that?!?!?! As a parent of an adopted child, one of the things you have to accept is that you do not have the benefit of looking into your family history to get any idea of what medical concerns to expect.  For example, a family history of heart disease, cancer, and the like are simply something we don’t have the benefit of knowing.   That doesn’t change necessarily, with adopting siblings, but at least we will have some idea what to expect based upon our experience with Logan.

I’ve mentioned before that I honestly believe that God is actively working in our lives, and I believe this is yet another instance of that becoming apparent to me. When Michelle and I decided to buy a bigger house with more yard, we didn’t do so with 2 little boys in mind.  Our present home would have been big enough, but in the new house, each boy will be able to have an 18×13 room.  The two boys will have their own bathroom.  They will have nearly 2 acres to play on.  What little boy wouldn’t be thrilled to have woods, a creek, and a barn to play in?

Sure, I will be 63 by the time the youngest graduates high school.   Guess what!  I don’t care!  I’m a good dad!  There isn’t a father on this planet who loves his son more than I do.   And I know exactly what this entails at my age.  I accept that responsibility, and I am thrilled to give the rest of my life, my heart and everything that I am to giving these two boys the absolute best home I can possibly provide for them.

Categories: Adoption, Happiness, New House | 8 Comments

Kids say the darndest things.

Logan is putting more words together in strings lately and occasionally even a complete sentenced.  The other day he spilled water in his lap and said, “Oops I spilled it.”  Last night, he made me laugh.  After we had dinner he wanted to go outside, as is his ritual.  He loves to ride his tricycle up and down the sidewalk, but he most enjoys going to his Aunt and Uncle’s house.  His Aunt is Deb, (or Deborah) and his Uncle is Gene.  Logan struggles with pronouncing Deb for some reason.  He does fine with Daddy, but not Deb.  Instead he started calling her Aunt Bob.  I find this quite funny.  Last night he outdid himself when he said he wanted to go see Big Bob.  Mind you, Deb is a very attractive woman and is not the least bit “big”.  I asked him to repeat himself, and he said, “Big Bob!”  We went on our walk/ride and went to see Big Bob.  Of course, when he saw the van driven by his Nina (his grandmother on Michelle’s side) thoughts of Big Bob became secondary.  We went inside and he ran to his Nina and gave her a big hug.

Since Michelle is out-of-town for work this week, I have been “Daddy on duty”.  When I got Logan up this morning, his first words were that he had a boo-boo, and requested a Band-Aid.  What is it about Band-Aids that just by their presence on a perceived (or real) boo boo they impart magical pain relieving and healing powers?  If Logan had his way, every single time he sat too long and there was a mark on his skin from something pressing against him, he have it covered with a Band-Aid.

Times like this week when I’ve spent more time with Logan than I normally do, cause me to reflect a bit on just how fortunate I am.  The process of adoption is one that, like that of natural parenting holds no guarantees.  There was no way to know when I held my son for the first time that 2 years later I would enjoy his company, or that he would enrich my life.  The only promise was that I would be a parent and that I would do everything in my power to give that child the best life I possibly could provide.  I find myself giving thanks for my son because of the joy he has brought me.  I look forward to spending time with him.  I look forward to playing with him.  I enjoy our nightly walk/ride, even when he gets tired and I end up carrying he and his tricycle back home.   I bust my buttons with pride when he says please and thank you to others without prompting.  And I smile broadly when he remembers the names of people and says Hi or bye and adds their name to the phrase.

My mother even pointed out to me something that I had discounted mentally because it was “normal” but she thought was extraordinary.  When we were all together recently for my niece’s graduation and Mother’s Day weekend.  We were seated in a hotel lobby, and Logan was acting a little fussy.  He was not screaming and yelling, but just not jovial.  I looked at him and asked, “What do you want?”  His response was, “Lap.”  I picked him up, put him on my lap,  he set his head on my chest and snuggled and nearly fell asleep.  My mom was stunned.  No only did he understand what I asked, but responded when asked, and once he got what he wanted/needed, he was quite content.  That is normal for us.  Since I have only one child, sometimes I have to rely on the perspective of others to tell me that what I call normal, is really quite unusual.

For my “normal”, I am eternally grateful.

Yeah, I am riding my bike in a hotel lobby, and I’m happy about it.
Categories: Adoption, Happiness, Parenting | 4 Comments

Time flies.

Well, I realize that I have not posted an update in more than a month, and I feel guilty about that, so let me explain.   We have been, almost without pause, spending every free moment working on directly, or planning for working on the “new” house.   Our contractor helped our budget quite a bit by allowing us to serve as a subcontractor.  Michelle and I installed all the hard flooring surfaces in the house, the majority of the light fixtures/fans, and also served as the painting contractor.  In relate-able terms, Michelle and I installed approximately 1300 square feet of tile, and laminate flooring.  Michelle painted the entire first floor (1300 sq ft) and I scrapped and painted the deck.  I have also been building doors for a storage area in the car port. (One is complete and installed thanks to help from my brother)  So, I hope you will cut me some slack about having been MIA for more than  a month.  Today, in fact, is the “final inspection” for all the contract work that has been done.  That does not mean that we are finished with all the things we need/want to do prior to moving in, but it will take some degree of the pressure off.   Deadlines make for long days.  Last week I was up at 5:50am every day, and worked at my paying job, left there, went home, changed clothes, and then worked at the house until at least 9 every night.  That is not something I recommend that any of you do.   The worst part of having to do that, was that I got very little “Logan time’.  I missed that.

Saturday, Michelle needed uninterrupted time to get about 800 sq ft of floor grouted.  So I was on Logan duty.   The little guy and I had a good time.  I enjoyed his request to have me pull him around in his wagon.  We loaded up the wagon with his bubble machine and I pulled him up and down the driveway for probably at least an hour.  I’m sure we looked like a scene that was cut from Willie Wonka with the trail of bubbles floating after our little caravan.   I introduced him to the fun of picking a dandelion and blowing the seeds off.  (yeah, I’m not a control freak about the lawn)  I gently steered him away from a fire ant mound. (I took care of them later)  We played on the deck, him riding his tricycle around the bubble machine and I watched and every once in a while scraped a loose flake of paint.  He amazed me again, when we both got a little hot and decided to go inside and cool down.  I took him up to his room where we had a portable crib set up.  We played for a bit, and then I asked if he was tired.  “Yes.”  Do you want to take a nap? “No.”  Less than 5 minutes later, “Daddy, I go nite nite.”  That is pretty clear.  I put him in the crib, covered him up, and he slept for 90 minutes.

Long story short, I really enjoyed spending time with my son on Saturday, and we made up for some lost time by having some real quality time.  I’m very conscious of that balancing act.  I think all parents do something as a reaction to their own upbringing that they found wanting.  For me, my father was a wonderful man, a great provider, and certainly knowledgeable about many things, but I wish he had spent more time with me when I was young.  I think that is one of the advantages to being a little bit older than most people with young kids.  I’ve already done the career focus time, and my marriage is strong and stable and established. (we celebrated 20 years of wedded bliss early this month) So, I WANT to spend time with my son.  I WANT him to look forward to spending time with me.  I want to be someone he enjoys spending time with because I know that sometime in the future I will be the dad who simply doesn’t understand and could never understand his teen angst.  Although it is hard to even imagine that kind of thing from our little guy.

All in all, the whole new house undertaking is one we are doing in large part because we both feel like Logan will benefit in every way from having this as his childhood home.  He is only 2 now and likely will not remember the house where he lived for his first 2 years.  Instead of 1/3 of an acre in a subdivision, he will have 1.7 acres with trees, a creek, a barn, and plenty of space to play.  We have plans for a play area where I will build him a jungle gym type structure.  His room in the new house will be more than double the size of his present room.  I measured it yesterday.  18×13.  I think he will have enough room for toys for a while.  Michelle has found a really unique bed that gives the feel of sleeping in a tree house.  (it will have stairs not a ladder) Naturally it will be safe, but that kind of a big room gives us the opportunity for more creativity.  (yes, I will build that too.)

Until the next time.  And, as always, thanks for reading.

Categories: Adoption, DIY, Happiness, New House, Parenting | Leave a comment

Sponge Logan

I find it amazing, enlightening and sometimes frightening just how much he absorbs from family, friends, other kids, strangers,  and of course his parents.

I have to say I am proud of him learning and being able to say “umbrella”  Of course, when it is open it instantly becomes a hat.  Just as long as he doesn’t do that same thing at 15 we’ll be fine.

He picked up some sort of bug and is running a slight fever and has a runny nose.  I knew he was able to say “nose” when he wanted his nose wiped, but he pulled a new one out of the hat today.  He walked over to me and said, “Boogers.”  Delightful.  I did not teach him that word.  I have no idea where he learned it.  I’m sure this is only the first of many words he will learn that I wish he hadn’t.

On a different note, I am amazed at his acceptance of technology.  He can work my IPhone.  can retrieve messages from the answering machine using the phone, and knows how to mute and unmute the TV.   I have no idea if these are normal behaviors in a 2 yr old, but they seem advanced to me.  He also thinks all phones should be able to entertain him with a talking cat, a shapes game, or to give him Elmo videos on demand.   His concept of what a phone looks like is completely and totally different from what a kid growing up in my generation would assume was a phone.  He picked up Michelle’s nano ipod yesterday and “answered” it.   Things like that never occurred to me prior to having a child.  Although I still have some, he has probably never seen an album or a cassette tape.  A wired phone, that is just silly.   If he wants to see Elmo right now, he doesn’t have to wait for Sesame Street to come on tv, just fire up You Tube.  When someone holds up a phone in front of their face, he says “CHEESE!”  He recognizes that they are probably taking a picture even though he knows it is a phone.   He knows that music can and does come from the TV.  He’ll point at the TV and say “Moosik”.    He will point at the screen that is the radio/climate control etc in the car and say “Elmo”.  Fully expecting that since it is a thing that looks like a computer or TV that he should be able to watch Elmo on demand there.

My how times and expectations have changed.

Categories: Adoption, Happiness, Humor, Parenting, Tech stuff | Leave a comment

I HAVE NATURAL FATHERLY INSTINCTS!!!

Sometimes something happens and you don’t really take the time to examine what it means.  I took the time tonight.  Logan was feeling tired and a little snuggly, and wanted to be carried, so I was carrying him.  I went into the kitchen for something, and as I walked back into the family room I tripped and fell.

The thing about falling down is that you don’t have time to think, you just act on instinct.  My instinct was to pull Logan close into my chest, and put my body between him and the floor.  I fell pretty hard because I only used one hand to break my fall, but Logan didn’t utter a peep.  He was completely unharmed.

Parents always say they would give their life for their children.  Potential adoptive parents who may be reading this, if you wonder if you could ever love an adopted child the way you would one that shares your biology, the answer is yes.  Logan is my son and I would do anything to protect him.  I proved that to myself and to him tonight.

On an unrelated note, he amazed me again this week.  Michelle was feeling like she was coming down with something, so I was taking precautions so I wouldn’t get whatever it was as well.  We both use a homeopathic product that you dissolve in water and drink.  I got a coffee mug from the kitchen and brought it into the bathroom and drank this stuff.  The following morning, when Logan saw the mug on my bathroom counter, he looked at it, looked at me, smiled broadly and said, “Nana?”  His word for his grandmother on Michelle’s side.  You see, Michelle, nor I drink coffee.  The only times those mugs get used is when his grandparents are here.  He connected all that in his 2-year-old mind, and concluded that Nana must be here.   Wow.   I hope that made you smile Donna (Nana).

Categories: Adoption, Happiness, Parenting | 1 Comment

Like father like son.

I suppose it is the expected way to enter the new year to be pensive and reflective.  I have been that way today.  I’ve spent quite a bit of time around other young children over the last several days, and the whole “Nature vs Nurture” argument has been occupying my thoughts.   With an adopted son, you can never be sure how much of what you see developing in your child is the product of their environment or if the biological parents are responsible for what you see your child doing.  I could let that bother me, but I choose a different perspective.  It is like a fantastic surprise and I think maybe it causes an adoptive parent to possibly less of one of those parents who says, “My child is going to be a _____________(insert prestigious profession title here)”   I don’t care what Logan chooses to do, I just want to help him get to where he wants to be.

Back to the whole nature vs nurture thing, I think nurture has an awful lot to do with it.   We have family members who are also adoptive parents, and it is striking to see the interests of their son develop in a way that closely resembles the interests of the parents.  Logan is showing the same kinds of signs.

I am a tool fanatic.  My mantra is you must have the right tool for the job.  Logan has developed an eye for tools as well.  I’m a geek, with somewhat of a knack for figuring out how things work.  Logan LOVES to play with my IPhone, is learning to use a computer, and blows my mind with his knack for figuring out how things work.   The other day, he removed the vacuum cleaner’s canister (bagless kind)  and removed the HEPA filter…….and then reassembled it, correctly, WITHOUT HELP!

He does show an almost savant kind of understanding of some machines.  I had him sitting on my lap while the car was idling a few weeks ago.   He managed to turn on the headlights, wipers, turn signals, changed radio stations,  and changed the climate control, now that might not sound like much, but the car has a touch screen control for the radio and climate control, so he had to navigate the Sync system!   I have nightmares that he will hack the TV so it only displays Barney videos, and I end up wearing a coat with long sleeves that tie in back from hearing, “I love you, you love me.” a million times.

 

Like father like son.

Categories: Adoption, Happiness, Humor, Parenting | 2 Comments

Two years ago today.

It was two years ago today that I sat in a hallway of a hospital in Payson Utah waiting for my son to be born.  I will never forget the feeling of joy I had run through me when I heard his first cry.  Twenty minutes or so later when I got to hold him for the first time the feeling was indescribable.   A mere 24 hours later, with the stroke of a pen, a woman who chose Michelle and I to parent her son made it all legal and binding.  With a simple stroke of a pen she gave us the most amazing gift I have ever received.

YAY for cupcakes!

As I sat tonight watching Logan eat his dinner, saying please and thank you, and just being a joy, it struck me.  I cannot imagine my life without Logan now.  Days when I can’t be there when he gets up and goes to bed somehow seem incomplete.  My manner of speaking to Michelle is often colored by “Loganisms”.  I’ll say babbage instead of garbage.  I hear his voice in my head when I say other words like kitty, doggy, or Papa.

Last week we invented a game that he loves to play now.  It doesn’t really have a name.  He comes up to me, puts his hand on my leg and imitates me roaring, and then runs away giggling.  He runs down the hall and then falls down and waits.  I, playing the role of the evil monster, come lumbering down the hall (sometimes I run) and roar menacingly when I get to him.  Then I fall down with my hands and feet encompassing him and kiss him on the forehead.   He laughs, and then gets up and runs about 3 more steps and falls down again so I can “attack” him again. This goes on for as long as he wants, which is usually quite a while, or until Mommy says the word cookie.

We didn’t get to play that game tonight and I missed doing so.

Who in their right mind would say that the greatest gift they ever received was one that you’ll have to clean up after for at least 18 years, will cost you untold amounts of money, and will have a grown man lumbering down a hallway, arms held high, roaring like an idiot?  Maybe I’m not in my right mind, but I can think of no better gift.  On this, his birthday;  Thank you again Linda.  He is nothing short of a miracle.

Categories: Adoption, Happiness, Parenting | 3 Comments

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