May 272014
 

I had somewhat of a horror movie moment the other day.  I took my 4 year old and the baby to the Wal Mart to get the essentials, you know diapers, milk, screws etc.  I am, if you haven’t read about it by now, somewhat of a fishing nut.  I always want to go fishing, even if I don’t get the chance.  So when at Wal Mart, I cant help but walk through the sporting goods section.

It was there that trouble shocked my brain.  Now, Amelia, my 4 year old decided to break her foot last weekend so she had to ride in the cart while Tristan, the baby rode in his car seat in the upper deck of the cart.  Amelia started talking about how she wanted to go fishing with her pink fishing pole and how she was going to catch a big fish with Daddy.  I was so proud.  Up until now we give her a bit of line tied to a butterfly plug that she could thrash around with.

I started thinking, her birthday is in 2 months, she will be 5 and she could go fishing for real….hmmm.  Let’s get her a tackle box and some hooks and we can go to town.  It was at that point she piped up and said how much fun it would be if she could fish with Tristan.  I said OK, and then she said she wanted to teach him how to cast.  All I could think of then was her tossing back a real live hook and catching the baby.  More than once.  My daydream vision had multiple hooks in his body and Amelia tossing him into the lake, car seat and all.

Maybe she isn’t ready for a set of real hooks all to herself.  I think we can wait another year to jump off of that bridge.  I still bought her a pink tackle box and some pink power bait to go in it.  We are still going fishing.

Thoughts?  Questions? Criticism? Misguided attempts at humor?  The comment section is waiting for your fingers to fill it with wisdom.

Have a great weekend.

Justin

PS- any ideas for podcasts let me know!  I want to talk about what you want to talk about!

May 272014
 

I am sitting here today in a small conundrum. I had a post all ready to go about patriotism and teaching your kids pride in the country but I just couldn’t publish it today.
You see, the old cliche’s about how fast kids grow up is slapping me in the face like so many cold fish from that old Monty Python sketch. go ahead and watch it, it is only 15 seconds.

I have known for well, 10 years now that I someday will have a 10 year old. It was inevitable. Time doesn’t stop. I have been trying to talk about it a lot lately to get used to it. Today however, the big fish hit. We have been preparing for Leatha’s birthday party. Her first slumber party. Today is the day and it just hit me that my daughter is getting this close to being a teenager.

She is not too far away from driving and college. She is still 20 years away from a boyfriend though.;) I guess that having the new baby here is really putting some perspective on things. We now have all of our kids and the next babies that my wife and I will be playing with will be our grandkids. In 25 years or so. 😉

I know I am getting older, I finally don’t feel like a 14 year old kid most of the time, but I still don’t feel like 36.  I have finally given up on all of the assorted BS that kept me somewhat repressed and timid for all of these years.  I am only concerned with my immediate family now, everyone else is just there to bring gifts on holidays.

I know it has been said before and will be again, kids grow up fast.  10 years goes by like a flash, it seems like Leatha should be turning maybe 6, not 10.  Enjoy every minute that you can with your family.

Being a Stay At Home Dad has afforded me several opportunities to watch my kids grow and develop in those intimate moments when they think no one is watching.  It is a perspective that is very valuable towards finding great Christmas presents because I feel that I know my kids and their personalities fairly well.

Anyone can do it though.  Watch your kids.  Spend time with them.  Throw a ball around with them in the yard.  Let them help when you fix the toilet or patch the wall.  My son is very excited about the new belt sander.

All in all, I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.  I love my family and cant wait to see what happens when we have that 18th birthday party.

Have a great Weekend, go do something fun with your family.

-Justin

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Sep 262013
 

Well we finally decided that it was time for my 10 year old and my 7 year old to learn to cook.  A bit at least.  My 7 year old gets to push the buttons on the microwave and put the cheese in the macaroni and cheese.  More will come as he can handle it.

My 10 year old is learning more and more things to cook.  And how to tell if the pasta is done, and how to make Jello.  She is able to turn on the oven and put things in and out.  It is rather nice that the kids are getting old enough to do some things around the house.  It is especially nice when we have to take care of the new baby.

The most surprising thing to me is how quickly they are taking to the chores and learning.  They are learning how to put things together for dinner and they are learning not to be afraid of the stove or the microwave.  I think half of the excitement of cooking for them is being able to use the appliances that have been off limits for so long.

I think one of the most important things that we are all learning is trust.   My wife and I are learning to trust our kids to do things without us showing them how.  The kids are learning that we do trust them.  They are also learning that the things we have been saying for years about the stove being hot and knives being dangerous are true, and not just something we made up to repress the kids with.

This whole journey of letting the kids grow up can be overwhelming.  They will always grow physically.  They will get bigger and need new clothes and shoes no matter what we do.  The trick is to let them grow mentally, adapting to their personalities and aptitudes as they can handle it.

Giving them more responsibility is a fine line between “too much I can’t handle it” and “not enough to keep my interest for long”.  That is a line I constantly test as a parent.  There are things that I remember doing at their ages that my kids are just not ready for yet.  They are coming.  The trick is to  keep them interested so they don’t drift away on you.

They want to mow the lawn now….I am not quite ready to relinquish that yet.  On the front yard people see at least.

Have a great weekend guys, thanks for reading.

-Justin

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Sep 262013
 

Hey everyone, I hope you are jazzed for the weekend.  I know I have been neglecting my Fiction Saturday lately, so I am sorry.  Tomorrow will be no different.  I am heading out to Kidney Kamp with my kids so I am going to run all of the Man with the Hazy suit posts and then end it with a bang in a couple of weeks!

As for today, it is stay at home dad time.  I realized some thing this week.  Actually I have been observing it for 2 months now, but I am finally writing about it.  What I am talking about is my new son.  As I sit and hold him or play with him now that he is learning how to smile and laugh, I realize that there is never going to be another time just like this one.

I thought back to my other 3 kids and realized the same thing.  There were several points that I needed to remember, that was all I got.  Even with Amelia’s dialysis and transplant, there were several things that were so worth remembering.  How she acted while all of these horrible things were being done to her and how tolerant a one year old could be.  There is another post about that later.

What I wanted to bring up is this little sound clip, Amelia speaks mouse.  She was 2 when I recorded this becasue she loved to sit and watch “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” during the 4 hours of dialysis.  This is a time I can’t get back, but I have a record of it.  Pictures and even video provide that same memory jog that is needed, because that moment is only here right then.

Like I started with, I was thinking of this post when I was watching my newborn son, right after he fell asleep in my arms.  I studied the patterns of his sparse hair, the cadence of his breathing, the set of all of the wrinkles and fold of his face.  I was totally into just that moment.  Another time in a very similar situation my wife asked if I wanted her to take him and I said no, this was a time to just be here, because he would never be that exact age again, doing those exact things.

These first two months of a new baby have really made me look at how my life was spinning.  That new baby forced me to slow down.  He forced me to sit in a chair and hold him without a mouse in the other hand or the soft glow of the monitor to illuminate the night.  I watched more movies during this time than I have in the past 2 years.

These are all times I would never change.  These are the times I am so thankful that I am a stay at home dad.  These are the times when I pray that I will be able to continue to stay home and watch my kids grow.  I have always been close to them but there were the times when they would do something fantastic and I was at work.  There were also the times when I was right there.

Like the time Leatha, my oldest (now 10!) showed up just outside of the kitchen when I walked out.  She was just barely standing a couple of days previous, and I looked for my wife to be right there, but she was on the couch across the room.  Leatha had walked all be herself across the room.  I turned her around and sent her back to Mom, and I saw her independence start.  I can’t forget that moment even should I want to.

This is part where I get preachy.  This is the time to look into your kids personality.  This is the time to be with them and memorize the freckles that come in when they play in the sun.  There will never be another time just like right now.  If you keep putting off the time investment, saying I will do it tomorrow, you will lose out.  There will not be those cute kids learning how to talk and walk.  There will not be the chance to look into new eyes and see the synapses fire as he realizes that I am his dad.

There is so much good in being a DAD.  I was playing with the baby yesterday and my wife said someting to the effect of is that a very manly way to act?  I said maybe not, but it is the Dad way to act.  That is more important with these kids, to be their dad.  They can learn to be Men later.

Sneak peak at next week: Puberty….

Thanks for reading, please comment below!

-Justin