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December, 2010 | Everyday Childhood

Archives for December 2010

A Special Thanks

As a teenager I dreamt of being a Dad. I always knew I’d grow up to have kids. I wanted a boy and a girl and often thought about what it would be like. I know, I wasn’t the typical guy for my age. I had it all planned out. I would be married and then have kids by the time I turned 27. I figured this made the most sense since by the time my children were 21 I’d still be a young 48 years old. This was important because of course I’d be taking them out for a drink. I had to be young enough to be able to stay awake long enough to actually go to the bar.

You like my teenage mentality?

Oy!

Well, now that I’m a bit older… as in 36 years old! I have a different perspective on things. Well for starters we didn’t have our first child when I was 27. In fact, I didn’t even get married until I was 29. Then it took us 4 years to have O, and Jake was as equally a miracle baby. So where’s that leave me? Well by the time O is 21 I’ll be a speed limit in most states (55). Actually, this wasn’t where I was going with all of this.

We all have plans and thoughts about where we’ll be down the road. Of course, there are definitely things we can do in most situations to affect what happens in our lives. Other times not so much. I feel really lucky with so many different aspects of my life. Just 6 months ago I started blogging about being a Dad over on www.DadStreet.com. I joined Twitter (@DadStreet), created a Facebook page, co-founded the #DadsTalking Community online, and have met so many great people.

It wouldn’t be appropriate of me to finish out this year or this post without saying how fortunate I am to have met Kelly. Kelly has such a bubbly, energetic, and positive attitude. She actually reminds me of a best friend of mine growing up. It’s not often you meet people that make the sun come out on a rainy day. You just can’t help but to notice things brighten up when you talk to her or read anything she writes online. I feel very fortunate that she’s asked me to guest post twice a month on her blog. I might not brighten up a room when I walk in like Kelly does but there is a glimmer of hope that maybe some of that sunshine will rub off on me.

I blog from a Dad’s perspective, for obvious reasons, and although I recognize Moms think differently I can also appreciate how much we need each other. Being able to participate on a mostly “Mom” site is a great feeling. We’re all in this parenting thing together and being able to share our experiences together is very important. Thank you Kelly for giving me the opportunity to do this with you and your readers!

I want to also thank anyone whose ever read one of my posts whether it’s taken you back to my site or not. I plan on spending more time here in 2011 if Kelly will have me and I look forward to not only sharing my stories with you but to hearing from you as well. Relationships are a two way street so please feel free to comment here on Kelly’s site or reach out to me anywhere else online.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Wordless Wednesday… Lefty

Rachel broke her arm on the trampoline last night… We’ve started calling her “Lefty” this morning.

For more Wordless Wednesday posts… check out Angry Julie Monday!

Keeping the Holidays in Your Heart

It’s easy to be jaded with the wonderful life you have, it’s easy
because you take it all for granted – there is no doubt in my mind
that 90% of the people I know just live each day like the last and
forget the true meaning of this holiday. This holiday season is
important to me because of a recent health scare I had… I kid you
not – I almost wasn’t here today to tell you about why its important to
be thankful, to appreciate your love ones, and most of all take time
to slow down.

I know the motions, I know the drain that life, work, family, money
can put on you… I know there are pressures from every direction but
the key is to make sure you have respect for it all. Just think about
tomorrow if you weren’t here, how would your children be? how would
your partner be? does it scare you? cause it sure as shit scared me…

I woke up thanksgiving morning to a heart attack and since then I
feel like my life is one of those Jimmy Stewart movies – I’ve found
joy in the small things – I’m trying to reset the balance of my
life… and I’m appreciating the time with my family. It’s so easy to
be frustrated at a child – they cry and whine, we become annoyed…
but if that cry and whine was a remembrance of life and the future you
have… it sounds sooo different.

That’s why I ask to for you to keep this holiday in your heart, it’s so easy to overlook what the base of this holiday is, it’s not shopping, its not finding the perfect gift, or that really hard to find one, it’s being together.

For this holiday season – I ask one simple thing – Take a moment (take
two) (take three) create a memory with your children… create a
memory with your partner and most of all remember to take it all in.
Life is short – we never know just how short until its almost ripped
from us. Hug your children – Hug your partner… open that bottle of
wine and just sit and relax and start to think about what you want to
do this coming year that will be different from the last. For me it’s
take time out – to create special memories with my wife and son… but
whats on your list?

Follow Adam on Twitter @dadarocks and on his blog, Dada Rocks.
Read about parenting from a dad’s perspective every Friday on Everyday Childhood.

Allison Turns Five

On December 23rd, 2005… Allison Joy was born. I didn’t want her to have a seasonal name like Holly or even Hope. I settled for Joy as her middle name and let me tell you… she has been nothing but a Joy.

Allison has taught me strength through her rough and tumble ways. She’s had a broken arm and stitches twice! And she still loves that trampoline…

She’s taught me to have faith when all seems lost. Her Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis is the most difficult thing we’ve had to deal with as a family. Her life has always been in my hands… but it becomes magnified when she’s dependent on insulin.

She’s taught me patience… believe me she’s taught me all about patience! Allison is her mother’s daughter… barefoot and smiling… standing in the warm sun… stubborn and tempestuous like a summer storm… tangled and beautiful like a wild strawberry vine.

She’s taught me about love as she crawls into my bed each morning. Snuggling in to me… I breathe in the scent of her hair. I’ll be sad when she no longer wants to use baby shampoo. Her five year old chubbiness soft and squeezable in my arms. Her little voice… “I love you mommy” as she sucks her thumb and rubs her blankie…

I’ve learned so many lessons being a mother. And although she can’t be small forever… I’ll cherish what she was and look forward to what she’ll be.

*Check out Sandy’s Wicked Sweet Wednesday for more sweet posts*

DIY: Organize School Papers

School papers are taking over my life! Well… not my life but certainly my desk area. Both of my girls are in school this year. Allison attends Pre-K at the same school Rachel attends 1st grade. I am bombarded with duplicate PTA notices, fundraisers, birthday invites, permission slips, and of course… worksheets.

They slowly began to take over my desk… creeping ever so quietly over my sewing table… lightly cluttering the dining room table. ENOUGH!

In order to bust this paper jam… I’ve purchased cardboard magazine holders. I let the girls color all over them for a personal touch. Their names are written on the outside spine of the box. I also designated a box for TRASH.

When the girls get home from school, they go through their school folder and pull out any important papers. These papers are then put in their respective boxes. Any other papers… such as busy work or seat work are promptly disposed of.

Things are looking brighter for us in our battle with school paper clutter. Hopefully, this idea will work for you too!

Check out this post and other great organizing ideas at Sandy’s Organizing Link Party!

Daddy’s Staycation

I’m sitting here at 11:36pm eating a bowl of popcorn and watching TV. Why am I telling you this? Well, usually at this time during a week night my butt would be asleep in bed. After a typical day of waking up just after 5am, driving 80 miles to work (yeah, I said 80), working, 80 miles back, making dinner (I’m the chef in the house), getting the kids ready for bed, and then taking care of stuff I need to do, I’m pooped!

Well for the last week I’ve been on a Staycation! The Boss and I are trying to get our finances in order and I’ve been really itching to spend more time with O and Jake, so I took off! What’s taking a week off from work have to do with saving money? Well, we have a Nanny that comes to the house 4 days a week so that’s a ton of money right there. Then with all the driving I do back and forth to work I’m filling up the car 3 times a week. So, it actually worked out on all fronts!

Just after Jake was born I utilized FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) and PFL (Paid Family Leave) to spend more time with him. In fact, I also did it just after O was born as well. I worked it out that instead of taking six paid weeks off I spread it out over seven months! I took one day a week off for seven months which equated to six straight weeks. I figured this would allow me to extend my time off with the babies over a longer period of time. I loved it!

I got into a routine with them, which was great! We usually wound up going to a Parent/Tots class which was really fun. I was typically the only Dad there and it was funny watching the Moms think I was “special” cause I had an infant and an almost two year old with me. I didn’t think I was “special” at all. I was a parent! Don’t get me wrong it was nice to receive the compliments and the attention but it was a bit insulting in a way too. In other words, in our society it’s common place to see women in their roles as Moms. Nobody says anything to a Mom out shopping with two or even three children.

When I’ve been out with the babies I get tons of comments from people. I remember my wife commenting to me how every time we’re out on Father’s Day with the babies total strangers pass by and wish me a Happy Father’s Day. I guess they think it’s sweet that a guy is spending time with his kids. She’s always bugged cause nobody (a stranger) has ever wished her a Happy Mother’s Day when out in the same situation on her holiday. Again, I think this goes back to how people view Moms and Dads differently. It’s really unfortunate but is really how things are, even in 2011!

So this week staying home with the babies took me on a walk down memory lane. Except now Jake isn’t an infant, he’s fifteen months old and O is two and a half! What they eat has changed, O’s not in diapers anymore, they both sit in front facing seats, and they both walk. One thing that has certainly stayed the same is how much I love, love, love being with them.

No matter what people think a guys role in his children’s lives is. No matter how under appreciated Dads can be in the public light. What I know for sure is that being with O and Jake and being their Dad is the greatest, most fulfilling thing in my life! I might have not gone anywhere on my week off from work (Wifey had to work) but that’s okay by me. I got to be a Stay at home Dad which is the best Staycation ever!

Follow Josh on Twitter @DadStreet and on his blog Dad Street. Come back here next Friday for more Everyday Childhood “Dad Stalking”!