Monday, February 27, 2006

Weekend Update

I don't have a plan here, just some random thoughts pertaining to this weekend. I skied on Friday with Heidi's dad, Merry's knight in shining armour, Grampy. I love this guy, he is the best father-in-law a kid could ask for. Not only did he think of me when his brother asked him to go, he paid. We had a blast, these new fangled shaped skies are the best invention. Grampy was flying, carving turns like he was 21 back on the ski patrol in Garmisch Patenkirken.

We made the trip with Grampy's brother Uncle Doug and his two sons. The highlight of the day was Grampy's collision with the blind skier. Beautiful! He was also rear ended twice by out of control whipper snappers. Three collisions in one day, it has to be a record. Luckily no one was hurt.

Saturday, we hosted a dinner party. What fun, to sit around with a group of adults and simply converse. The kids played great, Merry only told on David ten or fifteen times. The night flew by, I guess a couple of bottles of wine will do that to a night. It was snowing, the fire was roaring, all was right with the world.

Sunday, Grampy shows up as usual around 8:00 am with coffee and donuts. Merry will not allow him to leave without her. Merry is off for the day with Grampy. Merry likes spending time with Grampy, in her own words, "Grampy lets me be naughty".

Mom and the boys, we headed out around ten, turns out nothing is open Sunday morning until noon. Probably should have gone to Church, but the prospect of David in Church scared me. So we drove around for a while. I wanted to look at ski equipment, Heidi needs boots, I do too, those stores weren't open. We ended up a Trader Joe's, a yuppee grocery store. We have enough frozen food in our freezer to last a month of T.F.S.

Then we went to Babies R' Us and got Merry a booster seat for the car. David fell asleep in the car on the way home, so I did not stop at the Ski store, Heidi insisted we stop at the furniture factory, this resulted in David waking up, once up, the prospect of falling back to sleep is zero, this is not good. We did see a very nice bed, that I think Heidi will buy.

Home by 2 pm with quiet time ahead. David finally settled down to finish his nap around 4, sitting on my lap, snoozing away. Priceless. It was great spending time with David. Well, we still had to retrieve Merry, so we ordered some pizza and headed to Grampy's house. Some pizza and Merlot made for the end of a really nice weekend.


Thursday, February 23, 2006


Tomorrow, I ski. I have it from good sources that there is no natural snow in New Hampshire, but I am going anyway. Thank you snow making.

I have not skied in at least a year. Not one trip last year and the year before that I think I went once. You may ask yourself, "So What?" I'll tell you what, I love to ski.

When I was in High School I skied every day, In College I was on the hill 3 or 4 days a week. The first couple years out of College every weekend. Then Children happened, babies at that, the skiing has come to a very abrupt hault. Needless to say I am excited about my oppurtunity tomorrow.

There is a very high price to my adventure, that price is Heidi's displeasure. The cost is so great that I sincerely considered not going. I can understand where she is coming from, not only do I get to escape to the realitive ease of a full time job outside of the house, I also get to pack up and head out skiing. She is trapped, there is no oppurtunity for her to head out on a moments notice. There is a beautiful 8 month old baby boy that is so dependant on her that she can't be away for more than four hours at a stretch. You can't experience much freedom in four hour stretches.

Taking all of this into consideration, I am still going skiing tomorrow, and I am going to have a great time.

Heidi, I will make it up to you and I love you.

Everyone else, look for me on the slopes. Yippee!


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Jumping on The Bed

My kids love jumping on the bed. Nothing I say or do has been effective in curbing this behavior. Time Outs, Stern Talking, Yelling, Nothing.

The joy they derive from this activity outweighs any penalty that I have come up with. They are sneaky about it, they are blatant, they simply won't stop. Behind my back or in front of my face, they jump and they laugh.

Merry is careful, she rarely has the wipe out that makes you nervous. If she falls it is always controlled. She just misses and lands on the floor on her butt, or she slides off the edge of the bed at the last instance, unable to save it.

David jumps with abandon, when he goes over it can be very scary, I have seen him land right on his head. Visions of evenings in the emergency room race through my mind. These visions are brushed away, David pulls himself together and proclaims "I OTay, Me Wanna Jump on Da Bed!" to which I reply, "I think you have had enough for tonight" and I put him in his crib crying. He is not crying from the pain of landing on his head, he cries because the fun of jumping on the bed is over.

He has taken two of these falls that I am aware of, and he don't care. The kid is going to jump on the bed if it kills him.

To tell you the truth, I am proud. I loved to jump on the bed, the feeling of freedom, the wind in my hair, the sense of danger, what a thrill. These kids must pick up on my admiration, I think they know, even in the midst of my sternness reprimand, that I am really quite jealous and wish I could get up there and jump my ass off as well.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Spit Up

Spit up, baby vomit, burps with substance, as parents we have become very familiar with spit up. This phenomenon is probably the number one thing that will get the kid handed back to you. I take that back the number one thing that gets the kid handed back is #2 in the pants. Any way, spit up still grosses me out, three kids later, I still can't get used to the smell of baby stomach, just thinking about it makes my stomach uneasy.

Merry, was the queen, every time she would eat she would follow it up with a reversal. I couldn't understand how she was growing, I thought she must be starving to death, nothing stays down. Thomas is the same way, every time he eats, look out, that next burp has the potential to be very messy.

What really surprises me is how often I find myself unprepared for the mess. My mother still tells me "three times for the average mind" I have been vomited on at least once a day for the last four years, that is more than three, and I still am not prepared. I find myself without the burp cloth every time, why do you need a cloth for a burp? You don't, you need a cloth for puke! That's what they do they puke, Damn its nasty.

There is an upside, a silver lining to the nastiness, it has taken me three children to arrive at this conclusion, are you ready, kids that spit up a lot are nicer than kids that don't. My son David kept all that vile nastiness inside, instead of messing up my wardrobe he messed with my head. He cried and was a general pain in the ass 80% of the time, but he wasn't messy, except for the snots, that is another story. The kid needed to be held and rocked almost all the time, he never seemed to be happy. Merry and Thomas, smiles, 80% of the time Merry was and Thomas is as happy as can be.

In conclusion, if I could order a child, you know pick one off the rack, I would chose one that vomits a lot. Yes, it is true, I find the inconvenience of changing a shirt, or putting a little elbow grease into the sofa, to be far less inconvenient than a yelling, miserable, inconsolable child.


Monday, February 20, 2006


Mine is easily tried.
If patience were a rope, mine would be short.
My lack of patience does not seem to affect the people around me as it affects me. My wife giggles and replies I will be right down, my children need to be asked again and again. They all seem to be oblivious to the tension welling up inside me. Then when I don't think I can wait another minute... I do... and life goes on.

These thoughts about patience are born of my experiences and feelings yesterday. Sunday morning, Merry's Knight in Shining Armor (Heidi's Dad) comes over with donuts and coffee. This would be a great start to any day, my patience is doing just fine.

Next Merry and I prepare for Church, still feeling good, however the mood is about to change, and it happens slowly. At Church there are the usual reminders to behave, be quiet, sit still, listen to the priest. This week she seems to need extra direction, I am blaming myself, she found a bag of valentine day hearts in my truck on the ride over and I let her eat them. The elevated nudge level must be due to high blood sugar. Eventually we settle down and Mass is good. The Priest talks about looking forward and not lingering in the past.

Then, after Communion, I see Merry, out of the corner of my eye, making faces and fists at the woman at the end of our pew. I am not sure who started it, the woman looked as though she left her cigarette burning outside the church and that she was struggling to leave the bottle alone. You know the look, sunken cheeks, stringy hair, and she was giving it right back to the 4 year old.

Well, needless to say I was embarassed and let Merry know it. We sat out the final five minutes of Mass and then hightailed it out of there. I never made eye contact with the woman and hope never to see her again. Good way to come out of Church, ashamed, just the way the Pope planned it.

This incident with Merry tried my patience. On our arrival home Heidi was to have the boys dressed and ready. We had a date with Grampy at his club for brunch. Brunch at the club is good. Merry and I got to the house and there is no one in sight, Merry finds the entire crew, Heidi, David, and Thomas in the tub. So much for being ready when we get home. Merry and I had only been gone about an hour and a half. Why was everyone still in the tub? Phone calls, is the reason.

O.K. don't dwell in the past, move forward, get the boys dressed, the car warmed up, lets eat. I got all the kids ready to go, all we need is Mom, Five, Ten, Fifteen minutes tick by, I am dying please please hurry up. I head up the stairs, wondering aloud, "What the hell is going on up here?" Are you all right?" She is fine, just trying to put together the right outfit for brunch. The right outfit for brunch? She told her Dad we would be there at 11:30 it is now 12:00, she told her father not to be late, we are late, this does not phase Heidi in the least, it makes me crazy.

Brunch is great, Grampy was at the bar having a Bloody Mary and did not even realize what time it was or the fact that we were late. At this point this annoys me as well. The food is terrific, the kids behave, what was I worried about? Life is good.

Waiting for Heidi to pick out the right outfit for brunch stayed with me all day. I am a flawed individual. She did look great, but she always looks good. What are you woman really up to, is it an attempt to try our patience? I have never been able to get used to it. I like punctuality, always have. In my book on time is five minutes early, as far as Heidi is concerned as long as we get there it is all good.

I am learning, especially with children that I need patience, some days it is harder than others, but as the Priest said, there is nothing we can do about the past, we can only work for a better future.


Saturday, February 18, 2006

Update on The Accident

We have had a tough week here at The Tutu Boutique's headquarters, The Old Blue House, Inc. We spent alot of energy on the desicion of whether or not Heidi was going to pack up and head south. I think she bought and returned the tickets twice. In the end her sister insisted that she remain here for now and come down and help when everyone gets out of the hospital.
My advise was, do what you feel you need to do. Good advise huh. What I really practiced this week was listening. Although I was very nervous about the prospect of being left at home with the toddlers and no mom, I did not let on that I was scared, I just listened and tried to be supportive.
Everyone in Atlanta is going to be fine. The baby is expected to make a full recovery, we received a photo here yesterday and although she is burned you can tell that things are going to be alright. The photo eased many of Heidi's fears. Last night Heidi put out an email to the extended circle of friends and the thoughts and prayers have been pouring in. Thank you all so much for taking the time, the energy you are expending is having results not only physically but emotionally as well. The journey this family has travelled over the last week has been hard and long, but today we are in a fare better place than we were last Monday and that is partly due to your prayers.
I need to acknowledge the grit and determination of a little girl named Addison, the photo we received shows a little girl, badly burned on her face and head, with a big giant smile, happy to be with her Dad, Mom, Sister and Nanna.
Thank you Mark, you saved my niece, your fast action in the face of confusion, pain and panic resulted in a horrible situation ending far less horrible than it could have. In Ipswich you are considered a Hero! We may even hold a parade in your honor. No we will hold a parade.

Friday, February 17, 2006


When I was in High School I wouldn't touch the stuff. In College, not a chance. Unless I was out of beer and the Girls had some Purple Passions left. Purple Passion may not even be wine but it was as close as I was going to get. I drank beer, and lots of it. I couldn't get enough beer, in college the motto was the cheaper the better. I went for quantity not quality, Natural Light, Milwaukie's Best, Old Milwaukie, Keystone, Keystone Light, these were close, intimate friends.

Things did not change much after college, the flavors changed due to the money in my pocket. I upgraded to Budweiser, Bud Light, The Coors products, I perferred the Lights, not because they have fewer calories, but because I could drink more of them before I filled up. Then I got married and the beer consumption took a big hit. Not immediately but slowely over time, Heidi wheened me off, she did it without me even realizing what she was doing.

The drinking became almost obsolete after Meredith's birth. I maintained the Thirsty Thursday tradition, but certainly without the gusto and enthusiasm. Maybe a couple of Sam Lights and that was it. A few beers on the weekend, nothing to excess, I left "That Guy" at the door when I became a parent.

The birth of my third child, the pandomonium of the two toddlers, the stress of home construction and a new business has given rise to a need. That need is three glasses of wine per night. It soothes the nerves and prepares me for the excercise of bedtime. It washes away the angst of the day and warms my cheeks. Wine, Wine, Wine, Winey, Wine, Wine. Thank you for your rejuvinating powers, thank you for the peace of mind that you facillitate, thank you for being you. In my wildest dreams, I never believed that I would have such affection for wine.

But I do.


Thursday, February 16, 2006

My Dog Jackson

My Dog Jackson is feeling a lot better. He has made remarkable progress, he is still blind, and he is still anxious but he seems to be feeling more confident.

We brought him to the Vets last Friday, this Dog loves going to the Vets, here is a little insight into his mania, what Dog likes going to the Vets? Jackson does. We spoke with the pro about his blindness, his anxiety and confusion. We brought up putting him down. I think the putting him down conversation got his attention, his ears perked up, his tail started wagging and his entire demeanor took an upswing. I am reminded of the Monty Python movie "The Holy Grail" the guy gets his arms chopped off and continues to bait his opponent. "I am not dead yet."

Well, that night, around ten, Jackson shows up in our bedroom. He has not been upstairs in three or four months, he lies down at the foot of the bed like nothing ever happened. Of course, he can't get his ass back down, which means I get to carry him down in the morning, but that's OKay, it is nice having him back.

He has also started getting to his food without any problem, before the Vet, I would have to carry him, now he heads right in chows down and then works his way over to his spot under Thomas and waits for the shower of cheerios. That is the best part of having two dogs, never having to scoop up rice or cheerios that miss the kids mouths, K-9 vacuum cleaners. I stress out when I go to a house without dogs, the food that flies without the safety net. That is another story.

Needless to say, Jackson has bought himself some more time. He got a prescription for Prozac to help with the anxiety, and some antibiotics for his eyes, and he is much better. Thank Goodness!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Tutu Boutique

I don't know alot about Internet Marketing or the Tutu Business but I am learning, and like pest control, we are currently experiencing the February doldrums. Drifting along, without any direction, hoping to catch a nice breeze into profitabillity. It is remarkable how quiet it has been.
Even around the house, there is a bit of cabin fever, with the events taking place in Atlanta, the lack of sales at The Tutu Boutique, and a pack of kids that seem to have been waking up on the wrong side of the bed every morning, I am beginning to realize that it may be time for a vacation.
My frustration stems from an inabillity to get Google to recognize my main keywords. We come up on these scattered nonsense terms, but the bread and butter keywords are still alluding me. Luckily it is quiet here at General Environmental Services, Inc. it gives me a little extra time to research SEO and vent on this blog.I have stumbled upon some fairly interesting information in the past couple of days and I am begining to employ some of the techniques. If Google is responsible for 70% or more of the traffic on the internet and 80% of the visitors to The Tutu Boutique come from MSN or Yahoo then something is very wrong. The positive side of this dilema is that it can only get better. When terms such as tutus, toddler tutus, baby tutus, ballet slippers, and leotards start gaining some traction in Google maybe the February slow down won't be so bad.
We have a page rank of three and it has been stalled there for three months. I am considering dropping some of my links. Like pruning a shrub, keep the ones with the stats and drop the duds. Who knows? One thing I am sure of, I have to up the press release submittals and maybe submit a couple of articles to ezines. The article submission is free, but for the press releases to gain any real traction you have to pay, $30.00. My computer got overhauled and I lost my link to the free ezine submission site.
If you haven't noticed I have laced this post with as many links as I can think of. Not sure what this will accomplish, besides boring the hell out of the seven people that read it. I would also be interested in how to market a blog. I have been linking to some of the directories I find out there and trying to surf round and post on sites that seem relavant. I guess the next step is to be funny enough, and insightful enough that the other bloggers link to me. Hey if you are reading this why don't you link to me? I will reciprocate.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's Day is Here

The day is here. The card worked great. Heidi loved it.
I stopped at the local Brooks Pharmacy on the way home from work last night and was suprised by the number of people browsing the card section of the store. Old people, young people, men, women and teens, all looking for that perfect card to express their personnel feelings for the one they love. It makes me laugh joining in on the frenzie, I imagine myself following the lead lemming over the cliff.
It went surprising smoothly, found a great card for Heidi in the Friend section. Didn't even check the Wife area. Found Merry a nice card that mentioned Tutus in the Daughter section, and got David a truck off the piece of junk toy rack. I left them on the kitchen counter when I went to work this morning. Heidi and the kids found them when they came down for breakfast and everyone was happy, Daddy was great for a minute in time.

Monday, February 13, 2006


Got our first big snow of the season here on the North Shore of Massassuchetts. Sunday was spent if front of the fire playing with the kids. Sounds nice, however, Sunday lasted more than three hours and by mid-day they were itching for more.
Thirty mile an hour winds and driving snow sound like fun to me, but I can't bring a two year old out in it. The kid can't even keep his mittens on. Four years ago , I would have stepped into my, not cross-country, not downhill skis and spent the day climbing and descending various powder stashes. I know a whole bunch of places around where I live that need to be skied.

Even sledding is just barely manageable, neither kid can get back up the hill under their own power and both get cold quickly. I try not to do this, but I can't wait until they get a little bit bigger. I want to play in the snow! These kids are wrecking my fun! I want to play and they are holding me back. I find myself daydreaming about the jumps we are going to build, and the wipeouts, and speed, and the excitement. Then there is this thing called work. What a pain in the fun. Its cold outside today, but by this afternoon it will be reasonable. I could stuff the two oldest into their snow suits and drag them out to the hill. It would be great! I am at work, won't be home till dark, another oppurtunity for fun missed.

Have to wait until the weekend, hope the snow sticks around. If it does look out, the three of us will be racing down the hill whooping and hollering the entire ride down. Yippee!

An Accident

There was an accident last night in Atlanta! A beautiful little girl and her father were burned. The details are still fuzzy, Heidi got a call from her sister this morning, Heidi then called me at work. Something about a sterno and fondu. The Baby and her Dad caught on fire when a sterno exploded on them. This will probably never get posted, but I had to express the sickness that I am feeling.
There is a void, a complete lack of control, a sense of helplessnes and despair. How can I, we help? From the sound of it, the direction of that families life just took a detour no one could have predicted. In a flash their future has changed.
My heart cries for the little girl. The pain she must be experiencing. My heart cries for her Dad, trying to save her, and from what I surmise, he probably did. For Mom, helpless to relieve her daughters pain. My wife, Heidi, is beside herself, she is wrestling with how she can go on while her sister is trapped in a nightmare. Taking Merry to dancing while her niece lies in a hospital bed with second and third degree burns doesn't feel right.
We should probably put Heidi on a plane, get her down there to help her sister. There is family down there, Dads parents and sister all live close by. The accident actually occured during a family dinner. Heidi's mom is in Florida, I am sure she will be available to help. Maybe we should just hang tight. The indecision, is born of helplesness.
It is a day later, the fog is lifting on the events that took place and there are some answers as to Dad and Babies future health. The burns are second degree to the face, head and chest. Dad's hands were burned as well. The information that I have is that although second degree burns are the most painfull, if they are cared for there should not be significant scaring. Thank God.
Heidi still is not sure if she is going to head South. One minute she is ready to go, the next she thinks she will be in the way. Our boy Thomas is five weeks younger than the injured little girl and is still nursing. Bringing him will distract from tending to the family, and leaving him home means, I am not sure. When can kids start drinking whole milk? I say tomorrow.
Wow, Meredith, David, Thomas, the Dogs and Dad, on our own. That is a bit intimidating. Merry and David are easy, I can pawn them off on a grandparent while I am at work. Thomas, that is entirely different proposition. I may have a couple of sick/play days ahead of me. Whatever happens here we can only hope and pray that things go smoothly there.
Please, if you come across this Post, take a moment to say a prayer for a family in Atlanta that is experiencing something horrible.
Heidi gave me the go ahead on putting this up. She has posted some thoughts at her site as well.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Valentine's Day

I have been instructed by Heidi not to spend any money on her for Valentine's Day. I smell a trap. Having set more traps than I can count, I know one when I smell one.

We are having a dinner party tonight and instead of flowers on the 14th, she wants a centerpiece for tonight. The centerpiece will happen. The question is: Do I get in more trouble for charging a gift for Valentine's Day or for not gifting at all?

Personally, society has me so programmed, that if I don't get her something for this contrived excuse to sell flowers, pajamas, or teddy bears, I will feel guilt. Imagine that, guilt, over doing as I was instructed. The main issue is, Heidi has control of all the money, I make it and hand it over. Therefore, if she says "don't spend any on me" I can't. Kind of makes me fell like a sissy, not being able to spend some money on my sweetie. That is an entirely different topic.

So, I find myself in a bit of a conundrum and I am running out of time to figure it out. Something heartfelt on a card, will that cover it? We shall see.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

People I Know

People I know are starting to read this Blog. This is both scary and exciting, how do the "pro-bloggers", anybody with a page rank, handle this. My life is pretty much an open book to the people I know so it should not be much of a problem. However my bro. the vegetable hater, is complaing about me using his name and my Mom is thanking me for the nice words.

The bro is easy, I just changed his name to Fred. My Mom, I am not so sure. I don't want to ever hurt her feelings, will I have to censor myself? The answer is probably"yes" to a degree. It is not that I have never insulted, or hurt their fellings before. By their, I mean the people close to me. Generally it has been to their face in the heat of vigorous conversation. This medium, has the feel of talking behind their back.

I am really pleased with the abillity to put my random thoughts out into society. I am only now beginning to realize that it may have some power associated with it. The power I had in mind when I started, was to drive traffic to The Tutu Boutique. Now I am aware of the abillity to illicit emotion. Many of the entries I have read over the last couple of weeks have touched me. I hope to reach out and touch you back. The best way to do this is to remain a little edgy, and to remain as truthful as possible.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Tutu Talk: Dinner

Heidi has decided that the topic this week at The Tutu Boutique will be Dinner. Apparently she has some strong feelings on this topic. Here is my take:

I grew up in a house where dinner was on the table every night at 6:00 pm, if you were not there you needed a very good excuse. We held hands, said grace, and got down. We spoke about our day, listened to mom and dad talk about their day, worked out schedules for the following day and so on. It was the board meeting of our family life.

The craziest memories I have of dinner are the Great Vegetable Wars of 1977 thru 1980. My brother Fred decided he would not eat things that were green. Mom and Dad played the "sit till you have a bite" card just about every night for 3 years. It was both horrible and brilliant. Fred would sit, tears in his eyes, protesting the injustice of it all. He would eventually break down and swallow the pea or green bean and then make himself throw up. My sister and I would beg for him to be pardonned and every night the clash would begin again. Each of us would ask to be excused, when it got to Fred they would ask him to have a bite of his vegetables and he would refuse. A battle of wills, eventually it worked itself out. I was seven so there may be discepencies between the actual events and my memories, but it was something.

I found out when I got to high school that there was an acronym for families that all sat down for supper (T.F.S.) total family supper. I also found out that it was fairly uncommon. This surprised me, I thought every family sat down for supper.

I don't know how it went after I left for college, but I am fairly sure that if there were people in the house Marybeth (mom) would have dinner ready.

Married life begins, we both work fulltime and we eat on the fly. Out to dinner, microwave, sometimes we would even cook together. No structure. When Heidi became pregnant with Meredith , she left her job and I started to get ideas. One of those ideas was that Heidi should put something, anything, together for dinner each night. I don't think Heidi entertained the same notions.

I would get home from work and ask "Whats for supper?" Heidi would answer that she had no idea and we would take it from there.

Now, the kids are big enough for us all to sit down and eat together. Because the kids need to be fed as well, Heidi does not resent putting together a meal as much as she did when it was just me.

Family getting together each night to discuss the day that is done and to lay the ground work for the day to follow is very important. I hope that when children's schedules become more complex we will be able to maintain T.F.S. at our house.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2006


I have had the hardest time learning to listen. To sit quiet and hear what the person in front of me is saying, was nearly impossible. The problem was and sometimes still is, I have an answer and solution five words into the conversation. It does not make for much of a conversation.

Why do I have such a hard time listening? Because I am a self proclaimed know it all, I have strong opinions on almost any topic, I see solutions.

I never realized the value of being able to express the entire thought, if the solution or apparent solution was at hand. Why waste time? Lets get to it.

Some insight on me, I am the oldest of four children, three boys and a girl, I attended an all boys Catholic high school, and went to military college. I have been involved in my family business since graduation and make critical decisions concerning hiring, firing, long range goal setting, and everyday operations. The Pest Control Industry is all about solving problems. Usually the faster and quieter the better.

I did not even realize I had a problem until maybe 3 years into my marriage. Talk about going thru life with blinders on. I thought Heidi was just being a nag. Our relationship was coming to an end and I had no idea why. She couldn't stand me and I had had enough of her. We were very close to calling it quits, neither of us wanted that, so together, we decided to get some help. Every week we met with a woman who made us sit and listen to each other before we spoke. Seems simple enough, however it was very tough for me and some days I still have trouble with it.

Well it worked, Heidi and I began to listen and soon enough the children followed. I think one of the most important parts of being a Dad is listening. My daughter is only three and she will express herself to me in ways I did not understand were possible. I hope that she will always come to me when she needs some one to listen without interrupting. My son, is also starting to express himself and I hope he will continue to feel comfortable talking to Dad.

We have no control over what the future will hold, we do have influence on what happens today, and today I am going to try to be a good listener.

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Monday, February 06, 2006

Grand Parents

My circle of friends has been dwindling over the last four years. The friends probably are still there if I need them, however getting together and spending time with them does not happen. There are lots of reasons, the main one is small children.

Small children have schedules, schedules that rival those of the most powerful CEO's. The main components of these schedules are naps and feedings. There is also bed time. Having to keep their lives consistent amounts to being home by 7:30 or 8:00 at night. These factors do not allow for a lot of time socializing.

There is one group of people that understand when you get up and leave immediately after dinner. They understand when you have to excuse yourself because you need to have a talk with the two year old. They know that you will help pick up after the whirlwind of two toddlers blows thru their house. These people are Grand Parents.

Meredith, David and Thomas are blessed with five great ones. Heidi's father and step mom go above and beyond any of my old school friends. If Heidi has had enough and wants to escape, I get a call that Grampy and Maymay will be over tonight and "You are taking me out to dinner" I love that call. David and Donna also have us to their house for dinner once a week or so and will even take the whole family out to a restaurant. Each time this happens, I vow never to to do it again.

Every Sunday, we have dinner at my Parents house. Marybeth and Peter have a pack of Grand Children. There are seven going on eight grandees. They hosted a Super Bowl Party last night. The guests included, myself, Heidi, Meredith, David and Thomas. It was great. We left in the middle of the second quarter to make it home for B.E.D. They understood and I think were happy to see us go.

Heidi's Mom lives in Florida, she has made time to be with us when we have needed help the most. When a baby is due to be born, Maureen shows up and takes care of the family. She also provides a great place to take a family vacation, and watches the little ones while Mom and Dad go out for a bite to eat.

Without the Grand Parents there would not be much of a social life. Mine would consist of Business meetings and lunches. They are a nice break from the office but do not constitute a social schedule. Heidi's would be visiting with other mom's at the dance class or while dropping Merry off at pre-school.

I feel lucky that our Parents have become our best friends. Sometimes I wonder if this happens to everyone during this time of their life. Or is just Heidi and I?


Friday, February 03, 2006

Bed Time

" OK Kids, turn off the T.V. it is time for B. E. D. bed." or " OK Kids, turn off the computer, it is time for B. E. D. bed."

These words are spoken every night at The Old Blue House. You can never be sure what will follow. Some nights they march up the stairs, line up to put on their pajamas, hop on the stool to get their teeth brushed, sit down for their story, get in bed, say their prayers and go to sleep.

Most nights, I get, "One more show!" or "One more game!" to which I respond "No" "Get upstairs or I am going to carry you like a suitcase" I turn off the T.V., the crying begins, and I march them up the stairs. Carrying "like a suitcase" is placing the child under my arm, their waist in the crook of my elbow. They don't like it and generally head up the stairs under their own power.

Now that we have made it up the stairs it is time for pajamas. Once I get them naked, they run. I never chase them. I get David's diaper and Merry's pull-up ready. I pick out pairs of pajamas and wait. Usually in Merry's room, they forget I am after them and run through. I grab one dress him or her. The commotion keeps the others attention and I can get the next with out much more trouble.

We have pajamas on, time to brush teeth. "Whose first?" I ask, Merry generally steps up to the sink and I brush her teeth. This keeps David's attention and he generally follows without incident. While I am brushing David's teeth Merry picks out a story. When I am done brushing David's teeth he picks a story as well. We all sit in Merry's room and read the stories.

Before we start there is a negotiation as to how many stories are going to be read. Merry, starts with five. I counter with two and we end up between three and four. When we are done reading the agreed upon the number of stories, Merry and David always plead for one more. On occasion, one more will happen, usually, I remind them of the deal and that it is time for B. E. D. bed.

I put David in his crib, say his prayers. I put Merry in her bed, say her prayers and that is it. The kids, except for Thomas are in their beds. By now it is 8:00 pm and I am spent. The process starts between 7:00 and 7:30 each night and it wears me out. Most nights I don't go back downstairs, I get in my bed watch television for an hour or so and fall asleep.

If you ask Merry or David what B. E. D. spells, they may run or answer "bed".


Thursday, February 02, 2006

Jackson my Dog

We have two golden retrievers at our house, Maxwell and Jackson. Jackson is nine and Maxwell is seven. We got Jackson when he was two years old. He had been living on a run, was matted and had dread locks under his ears.

Needless to say we love him like our first child. In the last year and a half Jackson's sight has been waning. Now he is officially blind. Jackson was always a little bit off, very timid, and unsure of himself. The blindness and his uncertainty have not made for a good combination.

We moved to our Old Blue House the month after he came into our lives and I figured since the blindness has been a gradual thing he would be able to adjust to it. Some days I think that he has, and then others make me feel very sad. Yesterday was one of the sad days.

About a month ago we moved the dogs feeding area from one side of the kitchen to other. This turned out to really throw Jackson off his game. For two weeks I had to carry him to the food. I still do on occasion. It depends upon where his head is at. Some days he walks around with a fair bit of confidence, others he creeps with his tail between his legs. It looks as though he thinks that his next step could be his last. He gets lost in our kitchen, it is not good.

When we moved into our house we put in an electric fence, the thing is the best. It allows you to not worry about your dogs when you open your door. It also allows the dogs to be outside without being tied up. The electric fence worked too well for Jackson. The sound of the beep when he was approaching the boarder was enough for him to sit on the front stoop for the next day or two. I don't even put the collar on him anymore. Yesterday, Heidi found him up on the sidewalk twice, displaying signs of severe confusion.

Part of me thinks it is time to put him down, for his own sake. Then he has a good day, wagging his tail and wrestling with Maxwell. I guess we shall take it one day at a time, and consult with our vet. It is really, a very sad situation.

when I first posted this Jackson was in a very bad place. I am happy to report that he is doing quite well and the talk of putting him to sleep has been put to sleep.


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Boys in Tutus

Heidi hooked up our store to our blogs yesterday and has devised a strategy to try to make things interesting. We are going to toss a topic up, both take a whack at it and see what happens.

I guess there has been some discussion, in forums of which I am unaware, about people who have concerns over their sons, toddlers, playing dress up in woman's clothes.

This does not seem to be much of an issue to me. If the boy was 12 or 13 I would engage him in some serious conversation, however we are not talking about teenagers. I heard yesterday that "Imagination is intelligence at Play" This statement sums it up for me.

Who is the most important person in a little boys life? Mom! If she has the most influence it seems only natural that the little fella might want to walk around in her shoes.

My son David has a big sister, Meredith, who loves to dress up in Tutus, spins, dances and has herself a terrific time. Dave wants to play too.

I never got this opportunity, I was the oldest of four kids and did not have a big sister. Heidi wishes I did, she thinks, and is probably right, that if I did, I would be a lot more understanding of what it means to be a girl. Probably could have helped me with the ladies in high school and college as well.

In summary, if my two year old son wants to put on a Tutu, high heels and dance around the room. I am all for it. I just hope Heidi takes plenty of pictures because it makes me smile to see little kids having fun.

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