As many of you well know, I am a huge Mumford and Sons Fan Boy.
And if you didn't know, they just recently dropped a new album!
I have been skeptical as their last album just didn't quite do it for me. They used too much synthesized drums and beats and lost that grittiness that I came to love about them in their first two albums.
But, I am happy to say, Mumford is Back!
Don't get me wrong, there are still synthesized elements on this album, but it isn't as annoying and overwhelming as it was on the previous album. It's just different. It seems like Mumford is going the more polished synthesized route, but I'm impressed on their ability to bounce back with some really great music.
It opens with a nice little organ and harmony that will get your blood racing if the voice of Marcus Mumford does it for you.
Their first single, Guiding Light is great radio fodder to be overplayed but the real meat and potatoes of this album is 42, Wild Heart, and Delta.
If you're a fan of the first couple Mumford albums, this one will tickle your ears quite nicely.
Check it out on ITunes HERE.
After slogging through summer, it is finally here- the Fall/Winter Beer Season. In my correct opinion, it is, in fact the most wonderful time for beer! The days get a little cooler, the beer gets a little darker, little more mysterious and likely aged in a barrel with black magic added in.
For me, nothing signifies this season more than Sierra Nevada's Celebration Fresh Hop IPA.
It's like Christmas in a bottle- and signifies so much more. This goes back to c. 2008 when I was residing temporarily in Northern California. My roommate (and now good fried) Marc introduced me to this gem while I was there. Since then, every year this beer signifies the changing of the guard from summer to winter beers and the promise of a new season. It means Thanksgiving is upon us and Christmas will be here soon. It means family, friends, and good times.
This year, this beer is classically hoppy, piney, and slightly spiced (as Sierra does well), but this year it is a little maltier than I remember from previous years. But, as it always goes to show time and time again, it tastes like Winter is finally here and good things are coming.
Cheers everyone- what beer (or beverage of choice, alcoholic or non) signifies that winter is here for you?
Maybe it is the holiday season quickly approaching, or maybe it is because my birthday is coming up, but I find myself answering a lot of the, "What do you want for...?" questions from my loved ones. And sure, I give the stock answers such as underwear, socks, a 200 HP pressure washer, love, respect, and beer making supplies. But, those are simply the stock answers. They get that every time they ask me such a question- almost an unconscious, routine response. So, this year, I sat down and racked my brain to find out just what do I need for these holidays. And, the top 5 list below is what I have come up with that myself as a dude and a dad, could likely always need (and won't be on my stock response list):
Duct Tape https://amzn.to/2PTbJSY
Paper https://amzn.to/2JZA705 https://amzn.to/2AX2JUL
Velcro Tape https://amzn.to/2RKXJbi
Reliable Phone Chargeer (anker power) https://amzn.to/2SZLby9 https://amzn.to/2AXO4so
A long, reliable phone cord. As a dad, I don't have time for a dead phone because the cord tip got eaten by my robot vacuum that my son is obsessed with and wont turn off. No, I have to catch magical moments such as my daughter pushing my son in his Cozy Coupe around the neighborhood or my other son running around the house in his skivvies singing a random song about why he has nipples on camera. I have to have something to keep me updated on the games score. Or get me A to B (because I could have found it without GPS but since I have it I'll use it). No, time waits for no dad when it comes to magic in the household. Always being prepared and charged is critical. In my perfect home, every outlet has one of these bad boys in it. It will no longer become "Where is my phone charger?" but rather "Where ISNT my phone charger?". If you want to get in on this type of security you can get it for iphone HERE or Android HERE. Plus, they're braided so that pesky robot vacuum can't eat them for breakfast.
I shouldn't even need to write something about this one - duct tape is universally needed. Like air, food and water, it is right up there with needs, not wants. Much like the time-space continuum, the amount of things you can do with this tape is almost incomprehensible. From building your own shoes to making a wallet to removing warts and saving astronauts, it is something every dad (hell anyone really) needs to have in his car, garage, briefcase, gym bag, fanny pack, or European carry-all. Get yourself this feat of the human condition HERE and start changing your life today.
Paper. A seriously underrated tool for the dad in all of us. Not just for note-taking anymore (although I frequently do) having these on hand in a variety of situations may just prevent a mutiny or uprising of the wee little ones. With this simple legal pad you can draw a character, write a story, make paper airplanes, masks, play tic tac toe, hangman, and much more. Stock up folks before they're gone because this, and you can mark my words, is THE CHRISTMAS GIFT of the year. Beat the rush and get yours HERE. Oh, and don't forget the Pens.
Now this is where it gets really, really good. Really good. So good I almost (and hell, may still) write a blog on this product alone. I accidentally stumbled upon this gem when in the garden section of the local home improvement store. THE GARDEN SECTION. Congrats on niche-ing down, but seriously, limiting it to the garden section is a sheer waste of opportunity. Let me say it. Velcro Tape. One more time: Velcro tape. It holds things together. AND IT IS REUSABLE! You can hold cords together (no more zip ties!), hold toys together, use glue them to a mask and actually have it fit your kids head without tearing or not fitting. I mean, the sky is seriously the limit with this. And it tried to limit itself to the garden section.... ha! You've been found out Velcro Tape, prepare to be a star!
You know I have to include this on the list. This is my shoewear of choice. But, not just some trashy indoor slipper, these beauties are all weather and reliable. You can wear them to the office and just as easily dress them down for a night in with the lady. Or, simply pop them on with shorts (and socks if you prefer) and rock them to the store, wowing everyone in the cereal aisle with your classy sense of style. I literally spend more time in slippers than I do in underwear. And, this particular pair, will last you a long time - mine are 3 years and running- perfect broken in, just like a good pair of jeans.
So there you have it - my not so expansive list of the top 5 things all Dads need in their life. I hope that you found it as eye opening and life changing as I have - enjoy!
You're reading this. So, somehow, you survived being a kid and the dangers that haunt early childhood.
It seems that even in this over-protected, helicopter parent type of world, kids still get hurt every day.
For instance, my son, Jude: He finally did it, he finally fell off the bed.
Somehow, no injuries or even scar to tell about it. I consider this a rite of passage in my house. Like growing your first armpit hair or shaving, or even losing your first tooth, you haven't passed my childhood test until you've fallen out of bed at least once. I can remember plunging off the top bunk into the abyss 4.5 feet below and coming out of it unscathed. I know my brother did this countless times.
But that's what I'm talking about. How does one survive early childhood. I'm not even talking about the minefield that is school, high school, love, and beyond (that's another blog for sure).
Surviving being a child (and in my current scene, a child with 2 other siblings to distract the parent) can be tough, but is it this toughness that defines us later in life?
I can vividly remember the first time I was scared for my son's (Owen) life. I was putting away dishes, and him, being a helpful little toddler, was removing items as fast as I put them in. Sometimes helping Daddy isn't helping at all.... but that is neither here nor there. It is cute at its core, but really frustrating when on a timeline to get tasks done. Anyway, here I am putting dishes away and turn around - and my son is wielding a knife the size of him. I mean, it was huge. (as a disclaimer it likely wasn't as big as I remember, but as fish and knives go in stories, it gets bigger with time).
So here I have this toddler, so innocent, attempting to duel me. It's awful how scared you get- , you can just yank it away, you or your kid might get cut, But you gotta get in close. You dig deep, go tactical, and get your best mission impossible on to get close enough to this somehow perfectly classically trained knife fighter (how kids learn knife skills is beyond me) and secure his knife hand enough to distract him with a rice krispy treat and encourage him to go the way of light.
For Cora, it was on a walk. We had a wagon and Cora loved to ride in the wagon. So, later in the night as we are on out evening walk, pause to grab the mail and Cora attempts her first swan dive. Head first. There is the unmistakable sound of when a child's head hits the pavement. It sounds like a cabbage that someone heel stomped on the ground, a wet, squishy, and sickeningly softish sound that can only mean trauma. Cora, leaning out of the wagon went head first in the pavement and then her legs scorpioned over her head and she landed on her back. As a physical therapist I knew immediately that this was it, she had a brain injury, a spinal cord injury and she was a goner. She had a goose egg forming on her head so fast it was a baseball by the time we got back to the house. And then it happened. She smiled and stopped crying. Just like that. Took a damn header into the concrete and just rallied like nothing happened. Seriously? I'm having a heart attack and you're laughing?! Turns out kids are stupid flexible ( they are made of cartilage of course) and no spinal cord or head injuries were sustained (I did all my concussion testing).
It shocks me how kids survive, but it impresses me too. It gives me confidence in all my erroneous parenting ways that my kids will be alright in the end. And that gives me hope. I just pray it is with all their arms and legs and toes and other digits.
How have you challenged your child's survival skills?
I just recently finished 'reading' the book, "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k". I say "read"because I actually had an audiobook rather than physical one, but I got the info regardless. If you're like me where time is a premium, audiobooks are the way to go (I put a link to Audible below if you want to try it out).
I. Loved. It.
Now, certainly, the title is a bit abrasive and might rub a few folks the wrong way, but this is a book you must read for folks who have too much going on in their lives (pretty much everyone, right).
The whole premise of the book is that we must choose what we care most about, and prioritize thos things. In a very rude, crass, and sometimes vulgar way, you learn how to better your self. You can't care about everything and have everything to give. It's a wonderful tongue in cheek book about life lessons and making good choices. He sets the stage by discussing values, and that if you're not happy with the 'f**ks' your giving in your life, it's reflective of your values.
One of my most favorite parts is the discussion on problems and how some folks have it so good while other folks have it so bad. The author, Mark Manson, is not subtle about telling those whose problems are so bad to pony up- but also to open your eyes to the fact that everyone has problems. his line goes something like (and I paraphrase) "You don't get rid of problems, you only trade for better problems - everyone has problems." The viewpoint of these problems again goes back to the value discussion earlier in the book.
If you're looking to laugh your way to self improvement, I recommend checking out this book- I really enjoyed the audio version because the fellow reading it has a great way of getting the exact tone out of the words from the book and it is hilarious.
I've included the link for the book below (left) to link to amazon as well as the audiobook (below right) and a link to check out audible (audiobook program) if you're interested!
It's been a hot minute since I first met my wife. To set the scene, it was a hot August as a fresh faced pre-pubescent (I look back and realize how young and naive I was- and I thought I was cooler than the other side of the pillow) physical therapy students gathered round to being a new journey in PT School. There was excitement, nervousness, fear, anxiety, and some let's get this show on the road feelings swarming around. There is always some awkward forced conversations as you start finding out about each other and realize there are people you want to keep talking to and folks who you know you'll likely not continue a relationship following school. And that's ok, if you were best friends with everyone in your class you'd be a liar. Nobody gets along with everyone.
However, I did find I got along well with one young lady.
Yikes! She was something else. Initially, I don't think it hurt the situation that she had a very flattering figure which was well accented by her outfit (she was very well dressed - part of who she is). In any relationship I think physical chemistry needs to be present.
So we started talking. A lot. To say it became mildly addicting to be around this young lady is an understatement. She made my heart beat fast. Real fast. By now, I knew that to be called Tachycardia but at the time, It felt more like love.
There were times we spent sitting. A lot of time we spent talking. And not about school, although that was a common topic. These times are the times where I solidified my decision that this young lady was likely going to be mine for the long haul (i.e. Forever).
It would be usually later at night. After the gym (what's that?!) She would come over to my swanky bachelor pad of mismatched furniture - it was a 1 bed, 1 bath apartment that often, due to neighbors smelled of fresh tortillas and weed. My upstairs neighbor, a fellow named Little Hawk, was a 2-3 AM DJ for the hard rock station. He hosted this out of his room. On volume 11. Annoying at the time but a great story to tell. As a side note, coming from a house with 4 other dudes to going to live by yourself is amazing-you'll put up with rock music, Mexican food aromas and the occasional joint being lit in your presence for the freedom that solo renting provides.
Music taste, to me, is like a vetting process. At some point, if you can't appreciate good music, you're out. You may be pretty, but you're out. Anyhow, we would sit. I had the gumption to purchase some off brand white wine, which we drank out of coffee mugs (hand me downs!). And we would listen. .
To music. Lots of music. Dishing on how we know this song created this memory, where we were when we first heard this song. How we loved this, or hated that.
We created playlists and sat, listening. Simply enjoying each others company. (Occasionally I would cook for her, but my real culinary renaissance occurred after moving out of the state). Something that we still do to this day. Sometimes while the kids are up, but often after the kids are in bed we pull up YouTube and stream some tunes- each taking turns on picking our favorites. Of course Ashley's taste run more to the 80s and Country (new and old) while I am ingrained in pop punk era and classic rock. Which is why I chose the name of this blog as MakeDamnSure. A popular song at the time by Taking Back Sunday it resonates as it was one of the first 'cross genre' songs we could agree on. We listened to this often. And every time I hear it I'm taken back to my used couch, in my gym shorts, sipping wine out of a coffee mug singing with Ashley. Time and time again we sat, bonding, growing, understanding and learning through music. It was amazing. It was times like these that made me DamnSure that this was the one I was taking the long trip with. And, What a wonderful trip it's been.
What songs take you back?
I am happy to announce that I was again voted as one of the top Dad Bloggers for 2018 by the Baby Spot!
If you want to check out the article, check it HERE.
Kids are tough to raise. That's not new - not only are they independent creatures who have minds, plans, and intentions of their own, they also are completely dependent on you. And that haunts us. It keeps us up at night wondering if we did the best for our kid and if we are raising them appropriately in this hypercritical and uber-sensitive world.
There seem to be a few different types of kids in this world: the people who have forgotten what it is like to have kids, the folks raising kids, and the folks without kids (and let's divide this last group into younger and older). The first two groups always say 'Children are a Blessing' and 'Don't blink, they grow up too fast, savor it.' I think this is, in part, due to us hoping that by repeating it like some self help affirmation, we eventually come to believe that it is true*. We band together with our logo print tees reminding everyone out there that we are a mama or a dada and that we operate on coffee and love. We even wear shirts that sport our favorite hashtags because, by reminding everyone else with our trendy threads, we eventually end up reminding ourselves that this is all worth it and we did want this. And damnit, we are going to look good picking up the lego pieces off the floor in target while your daughter mops it as she wallows in pity because she couldn't get a new. All the while your son is having a sort of panic attack because he just dropped his lego lab he spent hours building and couldn't, despite what wise old dad said, leave it in the car - it was just too important. Yeah, So damn important you dropped it and it exploded into a million (literally, there must be a million) pieces in the line as we are set to pay creating a traffic jam of epic proportions. #blessed
*It is, in fact true, but sometimes hard to appreciate in the finer moments of toddlerhood*.
In these times, the kiddos can often be overwhelming. And you must be careful. They can smell your weakness. One must always put on a brave face and a stern (but warm, because you can't be an ass to your kids) voice and remind them or the consequences of their actions and how that will affect them for the rest of your life. "Don't pick your nose. Why? Because it will bleed. And it probably won't stop, you'll end up hemorrhaging out so much blood you'll die. That's why." See, stern, but warm.
All this time, I thought this was just a major part of raising kids. The instagram tells us that it should be easy and you should look beautiful and effortless doing it. I have personally not found that to be a true reflection of life but maybe I'm the outlier. Often, when I get home from work I immediately change into slippers and sweats and resemble more of a homeless person than parent. Although, I suspect some homeless people are parents...or at least their sign says so. #anythingwillhelp #godbless
While on a trip to Colorado a few weeks back I had my naive, infant eyes opened to how the 3rd group views us parents (the no kids one, older and younger). It blew my damn mind. It came in two waves and ultimately changed my parenting style forever (a paradigm shift if you will). The first wave was with the younger folks without kids - we pull into the parking garage at the airport. Excitement is buzzing-we are going on a trip! I was solo Dad for this trip, so the burden was heavy (literally, CO in the winter makes suitcases multiply!). The kids, amped up, are doing their best to be patient while dad gets all the suitcases out of the car and figures out how he can possibly get tabs on his kids and carry all this at the same time. Then, it happened. Two young, twentysomethings dressed up as though they are going to a business meeting at the airport (what is it about everyone dressing up as formal as possible to fly?) stroll by and observe the current scene unfolding. A plane was just taking off above us so the background noise was intense. I heard it as much as I saw it - one twentysomething turned to the other and said, "That sucks. I hope I never have to do that." The overhead plane had passed so now it was awkwardly quiet and they just kept click-click-clicking away with their fancy heels and tiny designer bags. They probably were just going to carry on. I was a bit miffed at first, because, yes, it did suck - but I was more mad that she turned the mirror on me to see the situation. I don't think she meant anything mean by it. It wasn't intended to offend, merely an outsiders observation of what could be in store for them it they didn't use birth control and protection and make good choices in their lives. If you don't have kids and are reading this- kids make you do a lot of things you don't like to do, like check bags. Please use protection if not for that one reason. Nothing in your life will be efficient ever again if you don't.
The second wave came as We finally managed to get into the terminal, check our bags and were prepping for the next hurdle in our journey, security. Did you know they make you pull out every bag of snacks you're carrying? As a well prepared Dad backed up by a Mom who knows how to pack snacks, this was no easy feat. I steeled myself, took off my belt and slippers (yes I wore slippers to the airport) and prepared for battle. An older lady (group three, older folks) must have seen the look on my face - she quietly walked up to me and said in a southern drawl, "Honey, why don't you just go in that line."
The line she was pointing to was empty. A sign above it read "TSA, Pre-Check, and Passengers with Disabilities Only".
She nodded her head approvingly, "Go ahead."
I moved my stuff over and the attendant nodded as well - "Don't worry about taking anything out - and you can keep your belt and shoes on. "
It was at that moment I realized it: the rest of the world views having kids as having a disability. Kids are a Disability! Of Course! I had always suspected it but was afraid to voice it too loud because nobody would approve of that language. I felt vindicated, understood, and justified. The more I looked around, the more I realized it - people at restaurants nodding their heads as you walk by with two kids - they supported me because I was overcoming the adversity of a disability (kids) much like Eddie the Eagle. Boarding flights everyone in the seats we were passing were smiling and nodding - looking me in the eyes (which never happens without kids) and showing me they were proud of me, that I could do it. I was waiting for a slow clap to happen, but it never did. Sadly. It all made so much sense. I'm not raising kids, I'm overcoming adversity!! How did I never see this before?!
So, if you're out an about, held up in a checkout lane in Target due to a child making floor angels and a lego explosion you may have more insight into the backstory and have more compassion. And, if given the opportunity and a parent of children is near, please don't be afraid to start a slow clap for them. There is nothing like a slow clap to cement the hero status of a parent.
Please note this was written as tongue in cheek. In no way do I intend to offend anyone who has a legit disability.
Well. We made it. It is the New Year. A symbolic fresh start. A place where all the bad from the last year goes away and all the good carries forward like a tsunami to crush the new year. This past year has been SO amazing. We added 3 staff members to the business (and had the most productive year in our existence), we added a new family member (Jude!) and we grew into ourselves a little more. (well, some of us did, I can't speak for myself...) For me, this year disappeared before I knew it was here. This holiday always makes me feel nostalgic for the good ol' days while at the same time, giddy for the opportunities a fresh year can bring! So, without further ado, here are my resolutions for the New Year.
If you want to be an accountability buddy to me (and trust me, I need one), click the button below and you can join my accountability program to help us be better people!
Anyhow, as we get onward- here are my Resolutions/Goals for 2018, in no particular order:
1. Be more Present: This is something I struggle with significantly. It would seem I have a few things going on in my life and can get pulled in different directions easily. My micro attention span doesn't help things. So I am striving to be more present in the moment- with kids, the wife, patients - just not be so damn distracted all the time.
2. Be the best family man I can be: This ties into #1, but goes without saying that I constantly want to improve on who I am to my family. Some of this comes from improving myself (which you'll see in the numbers below) but a lot of it comes from consistency and practice. I thought 2017 was a great year and I can't wait to see how I top it in 2018.
3. Establish a Better Morning Routine: For me, I am just wrapping up The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. Nothing helps me out more than getting my thoughts together in the morning. This book is a great tool to help fine-tune my morning routine and something I will be using until something better comes along. If you haven't read it - check it out below. If you want to become my accountability buddy, click the link above!
4. Exercise on a Regular Basis: This is an all too common goal, but it is true. Since the birth of Jude, I have been inconsistent at best. My goal is to tackle at least 2 days a week. Nothing major, but something is better than nothing. If I can get more, so be it, but 2 deliberate, set aside times to help my body move better and be healthier. Prior to Jude (B.J. time period) I was catching 3-5 days a week at Funktional Fitness. If you're looking for a great community to grow yourself in- this is an amazing place to be at. It's where I plan on continuing to go for the new year as well!
We are sitting in the living room- a cozy Sunday night. My wife is breast feeding our son and the kiddos are wreaking havoc as usual in the living room and beyond. It's not an unusual scene to us. This is most nights as we wind down for bed.
But kids are the darnedest. They are curious, inquisitive, and downright crazy when it comes to their pursuit of knowledge.
Today was no different, but mostly hilarious.
My daughter pauses from her laps around the house - "Mommy, you have boobies to give the baby milk."
"Yes honey, and you do too- someday," responded my wife.
And in the best form ever my son pauses, looks down at his own nipples, then looks back to his mother: "Mom, why do I even have nipples?"
He then proceeded to run laps around the living room screaming, "Get them off!! Get them off!! Get them off!!"
You can't fake this stuff. I was impressed with the understanding of my son on several different layers that boys nipples really serve a different purpose than girls.
Other things I have found funny from the mouth of my children:
"I tooted." - Because let's face it, flatulence is funny.
"I peed on the tire." - Because apparently my kids don't like using indoor facilities.
"Come on, let's get naked and make soap bubble angels!" - Because my kids like to roll around on the concrete naked and in bubble formula.
"What are we Buddhist? Let's do this!" - My kids always finish this tag line with me when we are ready for action.
What funny things do your kids say?
Everyone has phases in their life. And sure, we grow up, graduate, go to college, graduate again, get married, have kids, get a real job etc etc. And it may not always happen in that order, but those are the 'usual' phases for most folks. But when you dig a touch deeper, you get to the good phases. The phases that define a person and make you stop and say 'What?! - I didn't know that about you!'. I've had a fair few myself. As someone whose attention stops short of focus my phases often change quickly- to the angst of my wife. So without further ado, 6 phases of my life:
1. The bread making phase. - Oh yes. I will always be fascinated by self sufficient home-making activities. Raising your own chickens for eggs, milking your own cows, and making your own bread. I loved the thought that I was going to be putting a very clean piece of fiber into my mouth and it would taste so much better than store bought because I made it with love. Well, I kneaded, and kneaded again, folded, let rise, beat down, let rise again to my hearts content. The end result? A moderately above average wheat. I didn't have a bread maker. Nor did I have a lot of good recipes, but when it came down to time vs effort, I chose the time saving option of going to the store, thus ending my bread making phase ... for now.
2. My watch phase. Time keeps on ticking. This phase, while never dead for me ( I love watches and appreciate them all) has expired. I love watches. I think you can really learn a lot about someone by the watch they wear. And there are so many options! There is nothing like a great time piece to make you feel happy. However, they get expensive, and scratched and lost. The batteries die and I get too lazy to replace them. And so, just like time, my watch phase ticked past me.
3. My art/comic book phase- It's true. One day I dreamed of drawing and publishing my own comic book. I drew and drew and drew and drew until I was so covered in #2 pencil lead dust I likely have acquired some unknown pathology from it. Captain Feathers and his adventures were robust! Unfortunately, I don't think I made it past the first edition, but I was enraptured with comics. I loved the idea of being something more, something different (and likely ripped). The art, the story, and the dialogue all spoke to me. I still love comic books. Every now and then I will still grab one just to relish my youth. My favorites? Spawn, Spiderman, and of course, Superman. I still love drawing, but my time is limited and I often now find myself coaching my kiddo in drawing instead. But don't be surprised if you see a publication in my future....
5. My gardening phase. This is still going strong. Much like my bread making phase I love the idea of eating something that you grew yourself! It is SO COOL to go to the garden, pull some things, and wash them, chop them and cook them right there. Not only is it cheap, organic, and delicious; it is great learning for the kids! I love the memories we made while getting dirt in place we didn't know dirt could go. I'm not going to lie, my children, being mine, were often partially or completely nude during the planting of these gardens. The best part? The ladybugs and worms. You will never see a kid happier than when they unleash a thousand ladybugs into a garden. They also help eat all the nasty little aphids that destroy your home garden! I recently found out that you can get them from Amazon! If you're a gardener with, or without kids, it's a fun activity! Check them out HERE.
6. My glam camper/tiny home phase. I still will lay awake at night (albeit briefly because if you know me I fall asleep fast) and dream of a life without a mortgage, with enough income to pay off student loan debt, and my hot wife nestled up next to me in the tiny home we name Ladybird. Then my daughter and son come charging in the room, bursting my thought bubble, crushing my genitals in their scramble to be first to snuggle in tight, elbowing my wife in the tush so hard she shoots out of bed (had she been in Ladybird she would have struck her head on the roof with this kind of activity and likely sustained a concussion), and singing Christmas carols at the top of their lungs. It's a packed house in my bedroom and the floor plan is bigger and ceilings higher than Ladybird's ever would be. It's moments like this you realize that some dreams are left just as that, a dream. The final nail in the coffin of a life of free love, tight spaces, and infinite possibilities? A 3rd child. I don't blame Jude for ruining it. But he kind of did. With 2 kids, we may have gone on some wild hare, broken tradition and unleashed hell on the road in Ladybird- we'd get our education through life experiences all while living on love and coffee. But, alas, no longer. In Suburbia we remain indefinitely. But, much like in Travels with Charley, I may have to go on a cross country trip once my kids vacate the house.
So there you have it- 6 awesome phases of my life. There are likely a lot more. And my wife will likely remind me of many that weren't so glamorous.
What are some of your favorite phases of your life?
Happy Thanksgiving, Y'all! Can I be honest? I never know how to accurately put the apostrophe in Ya'll. Or simply leave it Yall. Anyway.
Today is a big day. Not only for America to celebrate our inaugural feast of feasts, but to honor manifest destiny in all its glory as well. As it stands, this morning I'm wearing sweatpants and slippers that look like boots. Needless to say, I'm ready.
On Turkey Day, more than other days, we call on ourselves to verbally acknowledge what we are thankful for. So this particular installment is about all that I am thankful for. But seriously, we all know I'm thankful for my family, my kiddos, Elton John, bacon, and the Beatles. So this list is going to be the list that I'd share if I didn't have to acknowledge previously said items. Here we go:
1. Chocolate Chip Cookies. I don't feel like I have to say a whole lot here. I am thankful for these little nuggets of love because they save my soul when it's down, Lift me even higher when I'm up, and honestly make the world a better place. Nobody, and I mean nobody, gets upset about a plate of chocolate chip cookies. This picture shows a recent chocolate chip cookie pie/cake that was made for me for my birthday. Doesn't get any better than that!
2. Lego Batman. This movie is hilarious. And if you have not seen it. Please, do yourself a favor, click the link below, and get it. You deserve it.
If you can't get behind a moderately arrogant Batman with a nine pack, whose quippy off the wall quotes don't stop, I don't know if you even like America, which leads me to think you may not like Thanksgiving, which suggests you should stop reading this blog. However, if you like lobster thermador, action, and Michael Jackson you need to tune into this movie. And, while we are talking about Lego Batman, this leads me to...
3. Legos. Seriously I am so thankful for Legos. Not only for them practically shaping my youth and firing my imagination from an early age, but for doing the same for my kiddos. There is silence, teamwork, and happiness in my house due to Legos. You can't put a price on that. Wait, yes you can. But my kids actually work together, have fun together, and adventure together in the world of Legos. Batman, a ninja, and a girl eating an ice cream cone with a puppy who has a bow in her hair jointly saved the world from Mr. Freeze in my house last night. You can't make this stuff up. These kids are better because of Legos. As Lego Batman would say, "Pray Hands."
4. Chickens. If you didn't know, we recently began raising baby chicks. We are the urban farmers apparently. These little ladies will, in a perfect world, provide us with the farm fresh eggs that we constantly crave. The kiddos love them and have named them Goldy, Thunderbolt, and Felicia. It's gotten the kids excited for eggs, raising things, and taking care of things. My daughter's farmer instinct it kicking in and she has become quite the chicken whisperer. This is the kind of physical and mental experience you can't substitute for a trip to the petting zoo and I am thankful we have the opportunity to do this.
5. Gardens. again in an homage to my urban farming kick, my gardens have provided a place for my racing mind to focus and be in the moment and bear some fruit of labor. All while teaching my kids about it. From getting worms and lady bugs to planting seeds, weeding, watering and watching plants grow, my kids are all about the gardens (Even the enormous caterpillars in it). And they love picking the fruit off the plants. This is quality time and lessons you can't get anywhere else.
6. And finally, Slippers. Because, I live in them. I recently told someone that I only dress up at work and the rest of the time I look homeless. I wasn't lying. I wear house slippers everywhere. I love them. The perfect balance of comfort and class. And the even better part about it is my ability to not care what anyone else thinks. I've finally gotten to an age/maturity (does that exist for me) that I don't really invest a lot in others opinions. Unless you're my wife. And then your opinion matters.
So Happy Thanksgiving everyone! You all mean the world to me. I hope that each one of you has a wonderful holiday! Until next time!
I wrote this blog on 3 different venues - this website, my wellness company website HERE, and my physical therapy website HERE, because I think this message can span any situation and should be liberally spread as often as possible.
Picture this. You're out shopping. Thankfully, you found some amazing pieces of clothing that you're dying to find out if they fit so you can spend your hard earned money on them. You're ready to go try some things on in the changing rooms and when you step into the room you're greeted with the smell of.... poo. Yes. Some un-thoughtful parent left their baby's adult sized bomb unsealed in a diaper right there in the bottom of the waste bin. The smell is awful. It's so thick you could probably visualize it, much like on the cartoons.
As your stomach churns, you have to make a choice. You just waited 15 minutes for a changing room (it's holiday season I guess) - do you stay, and make an effort to manage this, or do you give up your room and return the the line (or queue as our Brit friends would say)?
You decide to stay. And guess what? The smell gets better!! A few minutes in, you can hardly even smell it anymore! This is fantastic! You continue to try on clothes without a care in the world.
This fun instance is an example of what we call accommodation. Our bodies and brains are fantastic at it. Given the presence of a constant, unimportant stimulus/stimuli, we gradually phase out the recognition of said stimulus to allow our brain to focus on other things. In other words, your brain allows you to forget that your room smells like a port-a-potty. This is similar to having a jackhammer start up outside your window at work. Initially, it is quite jarring. But as it goes out, we slowly block it out and forget it is even there. It take the REMOVAL (turning off the jackhammer) of the stimulus at that point to remind our brain it was there at all. The same with poo-poo diaper. Take it out of the room, introduce a new stimuli (fresh smell air), and you remember what it is like to not be in a room of defecation.
Equally as interesting, once accommodated, we can add more stimulus to the situation without your brain taking notice. So you would never know if we continued to add 1, 2, even 3 more stinky diapers to the mix (given you don't see us invading your privacy) without you brain ever registering it.
I give you this analogy because, as parents and people who live life, it is easy to get stuck in the proverbial shit. And once you're in the middle of it, your brain sometimes forgets you're there. So much to the point that more shit can be added, and you won't even notice it. Once you're in the middle of the shit, you don't recognize more shit coming at you. This can be from life situations, friends you have, issues at work, kids, - you know it, this can happen to you. And you're brain may just accept it at a certain point. You know those folks who just always have shit going on? They're stuck in it. it is their NORM. Don't be that person. It literally takes you being removed from it to understand what you were in initially. This can happen in all aspects of life - from self care, to those who you surround yourself with **(THIS IS SO IMPORTANT)** , to child care.
As your life gets busier and busier, please always allow yourself a breath of fresh air, to get rid of the poo smell that you may have been lingering in. This could be a course, a blog, a podcast, and conversation, a new friend or mentor. Always strive for change so that you don't get mired down in the yuck of life.
Let's face it. Despite the million (perhaps billion) dollar industry into proper parenting and how to be an A+, gluten free, no TV, no devices, always ready, activity boss, no sleep, always awesome parent whose kid kicks ass, smells good, has clean clothes, uses their manners and never questions your authority - I've yet to find a rule-book on parenting.
Honest truth? This sh*t is hard. And, despite my many down-on-my-knees prayers, I don't think it will be getting any easier as my kids age. The game never stops. The rules simply evolve. And much like healthcare, we are living in a reactive reality. There is no proactive habit here. Because we, as parents, are not calling the shots anymore. Our power is gone. Because of these adorable little bundles of joy. They are so cute and cuddly at first, stealing our hearts and filling us with love. And then, they use that love against us. As a stranglehold on our relationship they manipulate their way into the highest levels of power in the kid ecosystem and dangle it relentlessly in front of us like a mule to a carrot.
My kids are training to be prizefighters. They dance around each other like a modern day Ali, flaunting what they have to the other, begging them to take action. My daughter, just the other day, kijacked my son's favorite (of the day) car, and proudly put it on display as she cavorted around the living room, taunting my distressed son into action.
*Cue the whistle* - Personal Foul- unsportsmanlike conduct - 15 minutes in time out, automatic loss of snack.
"Kids!! - What are you doing??!" Is often the cry heard around my house. What once was a sane and normal play activity suddenly erupts into a territory dispute worse than the Grangerfords and the Shepardsons.
How did it come to this. I used to be this kid. And now I'm the adult? And, as choices have it, I've got another little one to add to the mix. 50% ownership is now reduced to 33% - I can't wait to see how this plays out.
I was trained in this life as a player of the game and now I'm forced to be the referee.
There is no training for that.
To all you inherited refs out there-good luck, make the best call, don't be afraid to review the tape, and hang in there- you're not alone!
So happy and Love to announce and share that Jude Scott Christensen was born 9/28/17!
7 lbs and 10 oz and 19.5 inches long.
What a gentleman! As you can tell, he already loves to think, just like his mommy and daddy.
Other interests include drinking milk and sleeping.
Of course we will keep you posted as he grows up!