Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ready and waiting . . . . without an occupant (yet).

So . . . with just a few days before Ethan's arrival his bedroom is finally finished. Laura and her Mom (Debbie) did a great job with his room - oh, I did paint and move stuff :-). So . . . what is it like? It's pretty cool - and here it is:

Ethan's ceiling . . . with clouds!

The "Bengal Tiger".

The "Meerkat".

Ethan's cradle. (The crib was brought from Germany by Laura's great grandfather and was used as a cradle for her grandfather, father, uncle and even for Laura and her sister Kristi - that's amazing to me).

The "gator" along with the tree.

The "giraffe".

Well - there it is - the room is ready - wonder if Ethan is?

It goes SO fast . . . time that is ?!?

The kids and I did NOTHING . . . . seriously . . . NOTHING . . . . during the weekend (23 - 24 July) and time went so . . . so . . FAST!

We went swimming. Used some more sprinklers. Watched movies and simply stayed near each other but . . . . that's about it.

Knoah decided that he would wake me up early on Sunday (say 4:45 early) and he and I slept the rest of the morning together. The truth was that I didn't sleep - I was to happy to have Knoah sleeping on my chest to sleep. I held his hand, brushed his hair, wiped his face and talked to him about all the things I hope he should know!

Over the weekend we did build a replica of the Wright Brothers Airplane and also played the Wii together . . . but - ya know what? That was it - we just hung out and honest - I would not change it for anything in the whole world!

Jacob Matthew with the "Wright Brother's" plane.

Birthday and a Baby Shower . . .

The weekend (15 - 17 July) started out the normal way - with a long drive and time to talk about mostly nothing. We were lucky on this drive to see a raccoon and spent a few minutes just watching him as he seemed to "play" about 20 yards from the road. Jacob has been getting really good at "seeing" animals as we drive and he even spotted a deer!

Friday was the normal - dinner and a movie. The kids were excited about Saturday as we would be attending a birthday party at ATA Martial Arts for a young friend, Mattisyn who was turning five.

Jacob was a little disappointed that there were younger kids at the party but he perked right up when he saw a few "teenage" girls and (to be honest) Mattisyn's Aunt Emily! Hannah was so excited about trying all of the "karate" stuff that I had so much fun just watching her. Knoah was . . . . Knoah. He wanted to become Mattisyn's helper and seemed to enjoy being a huge attention grabber.

Hannah . . . . enjoying the "karate" class at Mattisyn's birthday party.

Knoah "waiting" in line to go hit the dummy at Mattisyn's birthday party.

We spent the remainder of the day swimming and then playing at home before heading to bed after watching the latest "diary of a whimpy kid, "roddrick rules" movie.

Sunday proved to be a quick start to our day as the we had to eat, take showers and then head to Metamoria, Ohio for a baby shower for Ethan. The kids were wonderful at the shower and I can't express how cool it was to see them be so wonderful. Knoah had a terrific time playing with Mattisyn and Miya.

The shower went wonderful as the kids (and everyone else) got enough to eat and drink.

"Ethan William" - the small cake.

Knoah Franklin - playing "games" at the shower.

After the shower the kids then "hitched" a ride back into Monroe with there Aunt Peg and we finished our weekend - sadly :-(. But - we had a terrific time and it was wonderful to be able to take them out and play.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Amy joined the "27" club and we all lost :-(

I love music and from as early as I can remember I had a passion for female singers. I used to joke that I would give anything to have Toni Braxton, Randi Crawford, Anita Baker or Etta James sing me the phonebook. Over the years the list have grown to include some women with beautiful talent. Today - that list became just a bit shorter with the passing of Amy Winehouse.

It seemed from the beginning the beautiful, talented woman was on a path of destruction and today it seems she has ended her journey. Irrespective of your thoughts or feelings about her music or her public image she was amazingly talented and she will be greatly missed.

It saddens me that Mrs. Winehouse is gone but it is also a not so sutle reminder of that we all to often lose some of the greatest artist at a young age. Ironically, 27 seems to be the "magic" number for many. Twenty-seven is the age that the world lost; Robert Johnson, Brian Jones, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Alan Wilson, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Peter Ham and "Pig Pen" just to name a few.

RIP Mrs. Winehouse and may God Bless your family and friends - we will miss you.

Here is my personal favorite song that I would like to share, "Tears Dry on Their Own" - I doubt the tears caused by today's sad news will dry anytime soon. :-(.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Independence and gone to Hell :-), kinda!

On the climbing rock at Independence Lake.

The kids and I began our weekend (9 - 11th July) in our normal manner - driving! The hour drive each week is SO no fun and with the heat it makes it even worse. If there is anything that could at least make it manageable it is the time to talk and listen to the kids about how they have been doing. The hardest thing about not being with the kids everyday is just that - everyday you miss so many things. As a Dad you miss seeing them get up, have breakfast, lunch, play, dinner and so on. Even though I have them every weekend it is like the kids and I have two separate lives - one with me and one that they have when they are with Mom. I guess that I get that to a degree but the problem for me is that I so miss them when I am not with them and phone calls (of which - Jacob's voicemail is normally not working), text message and even message on facebook are such a hallow way to have a relationship with your children. Most of the time I don't hear from the kids during the time they with their Mom and that is really tough. Sometimes you feel like each visit is a "new starting point". In some way it is like having a wound that never really heals - during the time that we are together things are wonderful but then inevitably once they go to their Mom's it is like having your first girlfriend brake up with you again.

For me the worst part of this has been the "change" in my relationship with the kids. With Knoah there was a time when Knoah and I would get up every morning and he would play Wii Fit as I got ready for work. We would talk, play and most important for me we simply were together. Having witnessed Knoah be taken during a c-section while he was not breathing and then seeing him have two "blue episodes" where he stopped breathing again it has, since that time, given me pause to enjoy every second that I have near him. With Jacob - er . . . He is becoming a "teenager" with all of the opinions, attitude and posture. I know that I am missing being there as an example for him each day and while I try - it's hard not to feel that it is enough. Plus - with Jacob it is really bothering me being unemployed as I am very afraid that he can get the opinion that it is alright for men not to work and support there children - which nothing could be further from the truth. Hannah - I so miss my Princess. She has become much more confrontational with Jacob and she and I have really been talking about how she needs to make sure that she does not blame him or try and start problems with him. It is much more difficult not being near your children than what anyone can ever imagine. I have talked to some friends that I know on facebook that are divorced and see there kids every other weekend and amazingly nobody can answer this question for me: "does it ever get any better, leaving or not being with your children?" So far nobody can give me and answer except that - "oh, you get used to it". I keep praying and hoping that I will but - then I think, I don't want to get used to being away from my children or feeling like we have to re-set our relationship every few days. Some days are harder than others. Not to long ago a girl I went to high school posted this as her "status" ~LIFE MAY NOT LEAD YOU WHERE YOU WANT...BUT HAVE FAITH THAT YOU ARE EXACTLY WHERE YOU ARE MEANT TO BE~ and I am honestly making an effort to do that but I keep falling back to this question: "so, I am meant to be away for my kids the majority of the time?" I know that isn't the meaning but - it is really, really, really hard missing your children.

For the weekend we really decided that we would have fun and with the heat we would stay in the water as much as possible. Saturday - once we made it home we spent the afternoon in the pool with Hannah leading the play and Knoah demanding that he gets to be the shark. We then went to Lincoln School park to play for a bit and were fortunate enough to run into a friend of ours, Michelle and her dog Roxie. After a late dinner we watched the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid Movie - "Roddrick Rules" which was actually very funny.

On Sunday we got the kids up early and took them for a really cool surprise as we went to Independence Lake for a day of swimming, play and frolic at the "water park"! The kids were so excited to get into the water and even though Knoah struggled with the water park at first because he hates to have water splash in his face, he adjusted and had so much fun!

Hannah, Me and Knoah in the water at Independence Lake.

Jacob loved playing in the water and we had so much fun tackling each other and playing with the seaweed - the seaweed that the kids thought would look good as a nice "hairstyle" for me!

Knoah playing in the water area at Independence Lake.

Hannah, Knoah and Jacob in the water play area.

After spending nearly six hours outside playing at the Lake we decided to head home. Laura really wanted to go visit "Hell" . . . well, Hell, Michigan that is and so we made the short twenty minute drive to Hell to take in the sights. On purpose, just like going to the lake, this was kept as a surprise from the kids. Earlier in the year we started going through a book called, "Weird Michigan". The book details several sights in Michigan that are unusual and weird. We have went to the sights around us and have been able to read the book before going and then have taken pictures at the sites. Hell (MI) was on page 54 - 55 so . . . there we were - in Hell. Knoah - decided that he would fall asleep and then simply not wake up until we were gone from Hell (maybe he is smarter than the rest of us). But - for Jacob and Hannah it was a great chance to get some pictures and see some neat sites.

Jacob . . . . the Bigfoot!

Hannah . . . . the "Little Devil" . . . .

We ended up getting home late and ended up going straight to bed. The next morning, with Laura off to work, the kids and I spent the remainder of the day together playing Wii, swimming, playing with the turtle and then heading to Monroe to end our time for the weekend. Of course it was great and awesome and everything I wish. Of course - the drive home was the same too except it wasn't so awesome.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What a "sparkling" good weekend. . . . :-)

Being out of work is no fun and sadly some other issues have arisen that maybe way hard to get rid of if not impossible for a long, long, time. I am sure that will come up later but for now - let's just say that "stress" is a normal part of my day.

As this weekend began (2d - 4th of July) the kids and I decided to spend sometime visiting with my parents on the second before heading out to Adrian. This was really wonderful for us to do but the "visit" ended up being nearly the whole day as Jacob wanted to ask a ton of questions about what things were like when I "grew" up. My parents still live in the same house and when I was a kid growing up it was wonderful. We had a creek behind us and Lake Erie is less than a mile away so we were surrounded by fun.

Jacob became fascinated with the creek for some reason on the 2d and wanted to know what all the rocks out in the water were. I explained to him that they were the "left over" dam that we used to build when I was a kid at which point he wanted to know, "how" do you do that. Instead of trying to "explain" it with words I simply decided that we would "build" a dam. This was awesome and so much fun as we caught crayfish, found some freshwater clams and even caught a young trout in my shoe!

While building the dam we also came across a "young friend" in way of a little Raccoon that "stumbled" into the area pretty confused. I was a bit worried about it being rabid so we kept the kids at bay and I was able to get it flushed into a cage. The kids enjoyed seeing it close up but after a while we released it away from the house - safe from danger for both the Raccoon and people.

I was amazed at how quickly 12:00 noon became 7:30 and after a dinner of pizza and a swim we decided that it was time to make the hour drive to Adrian.

The kids were asleep once we arrived so it became an excursion of carrying them in to bed.

The rest of the weekend we spent swimming, playing with "speedy" the turtle, playing the Wii, and simply enjoying each other's company. Knoah was the most excited about holiday with the fireworks and all but it was so much fun to see Jacob and Hannah help Knoah with the sprinklers. Knoah was most exited for the "green" colored sparklers as that still seems to be his favorite color.

Monday afternoon came too quickly for me and taking them to their Mom's was something that I wished I could postpone for a good three or four more weeks - but - guess not :-(. We ended the weekend with a fun cooking class and make a homemade "mac n cheese" pizza that the kids took with them for dinner.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 235th Birthday Amercian and Happy Birthday Laura!

The weekend is not over yet and still it has been filled with some great memories; Building a damn with Jacob, catching crawfish with Hannah, Jacob and Knoah, having a baby Racoon walk up and say hello, catching a pearch in my shoe, swimming with the kids, celebrating Laura's birthday, baking a cake, grilling chicken and of course . . . . fireworks!

235 years ago America declared independance from England. Not even three decades ago Laura was born on this earth - not sure that the two are related but . . . they do share the same date.

So far this holiday has been wonderful and filled with play, excitment and honesty. It's not over yet but I wanted to share some quick thoughts and maybe a photo or two.

God Bless. Happy Birthday Laura and Happy Independance Day America!

Jacob admiring his hard work - the damn you see in the background.

Hannah and her new "love" . . . . . LOL :-)

Knoah Franklin.

Friday, July 1, 2011

. . . . offically scared . . . .

It's now been over ninety-days since I was last employed. This is the longest I have ever been without a job. Truth is that I have NEVER been unemployed for more than two weeks since I was sixteen and stared working at Nortel Lanes bowling alley in Monroe, MI.

As a young man I worked as a caddie during the summer when I was 13 - 15 to make money. Then once I turned sixteen I began working as a stock-boy, "runner" at Nortel Lanes. Since that time I have never not had a job. Even when I left the military in 1992, I found employment within days of leaving.

I have filled out in excess of 150 applications in either hard copy or on line format and while I have had three interviews for positions I have not gotten a job offer.

It is really terrifying because at this point I have exhausted my savings and I feel a bit like a slug. I have not been able to get unemployment at this point.

Wednesday afternoon I was at the unemployment office and I was talking to one of the workers there and expressing to her my frustration. She - very nicely - said to me that yeah - it's frustrating but you have to look at it from the prospective of the employer: "your "middle age" (43), have a lot of experience as a director and as a program coordinator and of course you are on probation as a result of the misdemeanor assault you pled guilty to so many of the employers would rather higher someone half your age for half the money". WOW - it wasn't encouraging but it was honest.

It's crazy - in the last three years America's unemployment rate has not been below seven percent. Not to mention the State of Michigan's rate has remained at or over ten percent for much of that time.

So - I am officially scared. I am trying to be as optimistic as possible but to be honest - each day is a struggle. I know that I have great things in my life to be thankful for and while I am thankful I am also cautious in known that unless I can find or create an opportunity in the very near future . . . . wow . . . like I said, I am scared.

Nortel Lanes:

Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Information on my Termination from the ALCC in Monroe:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Happy 100th Post!

So, we have arrived at another milestone - here it is the 100th post! WOW - I can honestly say I don't know if I expected that fourteen months after starting to write my thoughts, feelings and experiences of being a divorced father that I would still be doing this.

I have been thinking a lot about what will happen with the blog as time goes on and more importantly what would or should occur with the blog. Obviously this whole thing started out as a way for me to get out my feelings and to get some type of cathartic release. Now, I feel it is morphing into something different or maybe I want it to.

I have been talking with Laura about how much of my own personality I should share and I think that while I have been pretty straight forward with who I am - both good and bad. I have also tried to keep most of my "post" to my time with the kids or my thoughts and feelings as a father. Understand, I know there has been a couple of post that were off those topics but I have really tried to stay on that track with minor exceptions. Because I have been unemployed it has given me a chance to think about a ton of things that I really had not considered in a long time. Things like - who am I and what do I value. It's funny - maybe it's even a midlife crisis in someways - but you never really take stock of the small changes within yourself until you are forced to stop, slow down and really see what has been altered. For me - what was altered is what I chose to give up. The things that I chose to rid myself of and not place in as great a value as I once had. Understand - these things are choice and all of us make them, don't we? All of us make the decision to give up or no longer place as much importance in avenues of our life that we once did. When you become a parent you change everything that you want and desire for what you feel is best for your children - don't you? When you get into a relationship you alter those things in you that maybe corrosive to your relationship - don't you? If you didn't - I know that I did and am very happy to say that giving up some things we not then or now and issue as I believe you become something for different - not better or worse but different - for those around you because you want to give to them and I accept this.

I have been watching the stats on who is reading the blog and from where and I am honestly humbled. Recently the stats for the past week were (by country and number of viewers): United States 248, Iran 8, Canada 4, India 4, Germany 3, Australia 2,
Italy 2, Singapore 2, Argentina 1 and China 1. It is amazing to me that anyone would be reading this but the fact that there are people in Canada, Iran, India, Germany, Italy, Singapore, Argentina and China are reading my blog is amazing and I really am so overwhelmed by that thought - thank you.

So - now the question is what will the blog become? I am hoping it will become more about my life, my thoughts and feelings, my experiences, my desires, my views and many if I am lucky, my growth and my salvation into becoming a better man.

Ten things that you may not know about me - (1) I love politics and read anywhere between 11 - 20 blogs each day on the national and international politics. (2) I love to read but I sometimes struggle staying on task with just one book. Currently I am reading Stolen Innocence by Elissa Wall, Monster by Walter Dean Myers and Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides. (3) I have sixteen tattoo's - none of which can be seen when I am wearing clothing. (4) I really love to cook but tend to make food that is way to spicy for others to enjoy. (5) I love documentary movies and watch what Laura calls "stupid shows" on television (Pawn Stars, American Pickers, Hardcore Pawn, National Geographic). (6) I never thought that I would be a father and since becoming one I can't imagine NOT being one. (7) I love doing things for others. (8) I love being around and working with kids. (9) I am growing to like my new "hometown" of Adrian but . . . miss the place of my birth; Monroe. (10) I can't wait to hold Ethan but am truly worried about being a good enough father for him.

So - what will occur with or happen to the blog is really unknown to me at this point but you know what, that's wonderful isn't it? I am open to the future that is ahead of me while still knowing that I must hold dear all the terrific things in my past that got me to where I am today. Happy 100th blog entry to "both sides now . . " and I pray for 1,000 more!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Share Something HAPPY! ! !

OK - clear violation of my "post standards" here . . . but as my "update" post really did not contain any "pictures" thanks to the whole "laptop" crashing thing I wanted to share some "happy" moments that I have not posted yet:

Knoah and his friend "snickers"!

Jacob . . . . being fun and silly!

Hannah Noel . . . . the "monster"! ! LOL . . .

Jacob and I . . . . playing at Michael's Crafts (funny thing is . . . they never asked us to leave either!).

Hannah, Knoah (yep . . . passed out! er, ok, asleep), me and Jacob . . . having an "early St. Pat's day" celebration!.

Laura and I standing in front of Poseidon at COSI in Columbus.

Jacob . . . his first "Lion's" game day! ! He was like six days old!

Yep . . . that makes me pretty happy - enjoy!

Mario Brother's . . WE . . oops . . Wii and a baking extravaganza!

The kids arrived on Saturday morning for another "fun" weekend (25 - 27 June)! The kids came ready to play - Knoah bringing matchbox cars with him and Hannah arriving with a suitcase full of toys - stuffed and rubber animals! Jacob on the other hand just wanted to play a new Wii game that Laura had - Super Mario Brother's Wii!

After playing with "speedy" the turtle for a while we began enjoying just seeing each other. Hannah helped me make Macaroni and Cheese for lunch and we then all went into the "garage" which has been converted into a playroom with all of the toys that the kids own.

Since moving out of the apartment I rented in Clinton I have been living with Laura in Adrian. I should confess that since December when we learned we were going to have a baby we had been "discussing" moving in with each other so that we could raise Ethan. The truth is that the same week that I lost my job I had already started moving so - WOW! ! Yeah, it's been hectic for me and the kids and AMAZING that Laura has been so wonderful and understanding.

It is difficult for me to be in this position and honestly - it really does play on your pride but - I know that it isn't going to be permanent. I also know that no matter what happens in the future that I have to continue to work to be a better person.

Hannah and I began dinner - Hamburgers on the grill and decided that it was time to do some "baking". We made a batch of brownies and a chocolate cream pie for desert.

Saturday night finished with a nice dinner with everyone sitting at the table eating - something I am really enjoying - and then we watched to movie Gnomeo and Juliet. Which was awesome but also has a really cool story for us. Months ago before the movie came out the kids and I were at Frenchtown Square Mall and the local theater (Phoenix) had these window clings advertising the movie. Knoah seen them and thought they were just way to cool. So - I began talking to the theater manager about them and asked if I could buy one of them. She chuckled and after taking one look at Knoah she smiled and told me to just take one - so; Knoah got his pick of gnomes which now graces a window in the garage / playroom!

Knoah's . . . . . . Gnome! ! LOL -

Knoah and Hannah "helping" to make Saturday night's desert.

Gnomie and Juliet was a really fun movie that - if you have not seen it, you should - continued the line of "adult theme" references in kids movies that helps keep your attention. Some cool Shakespeare references (beyond the obvious) along with a few funny references from Brokeback Mountain - "I wish I could quite you", Robin Hood / Lassie / The Lion King - "what are you trying to say, Timmy fell down the well, Mustafia, little John . . .who". Along with an obvious lift of the Matrix fight scene! And - yeah . . . there is a "oh, that's a big hat" observation that has a bit of a double meaning. Overall - I really enjoyed the movie and the kids were ready to go to sleep as soon as it was over.

Sunday we made a breakfast of cinnamon rolls and than began a day of play. Mostly we played together and had fun with the playroom / garage, speedy and of course the new thing that Jacob fell head over heals in love with - Super Mario Brother's Wii. Jacob, Knoah and I played together for a long time which was AWESOME - except that Knoah seems to enjoy killing those he plays with and is fond of resetting the game whenever he is not winning!

Dinner saw us having spaghetti and garlic bread with your choice of brownies, chocolate cream pie or banana nut bread for desert. We then had a nice bath and headed to bed at 9:00.

Monday morning I got up early so that I could surprise the kids with breakfast - brownies (yeah, I have been in a baking mood) and cinnamon rolls. After breakfast we played games (Wii, SpongeBob Bowling) and then finished up getting ready for the trek back into Monroe to drop the kids off to there Uncle Franklin.

Overall - it was, like it always is, terrific to spend time with Jacob, Hannah and Knoah. After taking them back to Monroe and talking with there uncle Frank and driving away I realized - I will always miss them every single second that I am away from them. The good news - - just a few more days and I am with them again! Better news; thanks to Verizon, I get to txt them everyday!

So - it was back to the house and to watch Laura and her Mom as they continued to paint animals on the walls of Ethan's room! I would LOVE to post pictures of the creatures that they have painted on the wall (Orangutans, Monkeys, Alligator, Giraffes, turtle and a tree . . . ) but . . . :-) Laura is excited to share those photos with everyone on Facebook so - I will wait until after she does that to share them.

Anyhow - back to looking for a job and to trying to be the best Dad that I can be. Enjoy. :-)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Happy Father's Day Weekend 2011

Happy Father's Day Cake

There are so many things that I want to write and discuss about not only being a Father but about what this Father's Day means to me. But, honestly, right now I am feeling that I am not in the place I want to be to put all of my thoughts and feelings down and to share them.

I will share this - The kids stayed with me the 18 - 20th and during that time we played, told each other scary stories, had s'mores, baked a cake, made brownies, played with the new pet turtle, played the Wii, played clue, played with the new bubble wand, went to Madison School Park and generally had a great time being with each other.

Sunday night I made dinner and baked a cake for Father's Day. The kids gave me an awesome t-shirt, sleeping pants and an amazingly adorable outfit for Ethan. Laura gave me a terrific picture frame.

I know that there are a ton of things in life that I am not but the one thing I am proud of is that I am a Dad. I love my children more than anything on this earth. Not too long ago a friend of mine pointed me to a quote from the movie Mrs. Douptfire and I have fallen in love with it:

"In regards to my behaviour,I can only plead insanity. Because, ever since my children were born, the moment I looked at them, I was crazy about them. Once I held them, I was hooked. I'm addicted to my children, sir. I love them with all my heart. And the idea of someone telling me I can't be with them, I can't see them every day.. .It's like someone saying I can't have air. I can't live without air, and I can't live without them. Listen, I would do anything. I just want to be with them. I know I need that, sir. We have a history. And I just... They mean everything to me. And they need me as much as I need them."

So - I have a real "post" from Father's Day and maybe sometime I will share it but . . . today has been a "blue day" for me and I know that sharing that post would do nothing but share that "blueness" with others . . . . and why? I would rather share this:

Jacob, Me, Hannah and the silly boy; Knoah.

Knoah, Jacob and Hannah . . . . The greatest children on this earth.

Hannah's Father's Day Letter to me.

"Dear Dad, You have been the best dad for me for ten years. Today I have to say you ARE THE BEST DAD IN THE WORLD. HAPPY FATHERS DAY"

Happy Father's day to all "Dad's" . . . and if you have any advice to offer on how I am to get used to the time's I am not with my children . . . please, consider letting me know, k? Thx.

June 2011

Hannah, Knoah and Jacob

Nearly caught up! ! ! Yeah! ! !

June 3 - 5th, 2011

What a fun weekend we had. Although we stayed at home we had a great bomb fire, played a new game called "Zumba", watched movies and even did Hannah's nails!

We had such a great time. Laura even made an desert with the kids of chocolate and snickers bars! I wish I could recall the name of it but I can say - it was gone pretty quick!

Knoah . . . . making "dinner"

June 10 - 14th, 2011

Yeah . . . we had an "extended" vist and had so much fun! We did art work, arrainged a play area in the garage (with ALL OF THE TOYS), did a bombfire with s'mores and hot dogs, played Wii, worked on the flower garden, caught a snake, played football, caught a frog, played golf and even went to Lincoln School Park in Adrian to play with a friend of our's (Michelle) and her dog Roxie.

Overall - We had a great time . . .

Knoah . . . Helping Decorate!

Knoah, Jacob, Me, The "snake" and Hannah.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

April 2011

Continued update of monthly visitation:

April 1 - 3d, 2011

The kids and I spent the weekend just "hanging out" and moving things trying to get situated. We found a new place in Adrian, thanks to Laura, that the kid's fell in love with - Frosty Boy . . . so, Ice Cream was had by all. We also enjoyed going to Tressel Park for a nice walk.

April 7 - 10th, 2011

We continued the simple enjoyment of being at home and then having ice cream thanks to Frosty Boy. Jacob helped me as I put his soccer goal together and the four of us played outside the majority of the time during an extended visit.

April 15 - 17th, 2011

The kids and I continued to enjoy playing with each other at home as I continued to work through getting all of my things (including the WAY TOO MANY toys that we have) situated. Kids are excited about next week as it will be an extended visit thanks to spring break!

April 22 - 27th, 2011

Long extended visit for spring break! Yeah - it was so awesome to have them with me for so many days in a row. We played at home - a whole ton of Wii along with soccer and other outside games.

April 29 - May 1st, 2011

We had a terrific time at the Tecumseh Art Walk on Friday and then went swimming at the Lenawee Family Christian Center on Sunday. The kids had a great time as did I.

Here we all are having fun and enjoying the "water slide"!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Couch Potato Weekend . . . thankfully

WOW - - work has been kinda kicking my butt this past week and even worse I have been feeling sick, so; while I was happy as a tuna fish in the open ocean to see the kids this weekend (28 - 30 January) I was also not feeling very well and hoping that we could simply "hang out" together. Thankfully - the kids were up for that too!

Except for venturing out for needed items and a short "sledding" trip we stayed close to home. Of course we still had a great deal of fun playing the Wii, board games, tag, building a "paper circus", fixing the "weasel" and simply being near each other.

Without too many words here is our weekend in pictures, enjoy:

Hannah's Paper Circus (thx's to Family Fun Magazine for the idea!).

Another view of our "circus".

Knoah helping with the circus.

Surgery on the "Weasel".

A happy Hannah with the "Weasel" in post-op!

Jacob and Knoah . . . .playing the Wii.

Sadly, as is always the case the weekend ended too soon and the kids had to go back to Monroe and to there Mommy way to early for me. But - Knoah did a great job of giving me the best reminder of how wonderfully relaxed, happy and inviting this weekend was . . .

. . . . like normal, I missed them as soon as I dropped them off and was texting Jacob within hours! But I know that I will see them in just a couple of days - hopefully we will all have the energy to go out and do something together, if not . . . just being with each other is kinda awesome too!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Weekend in C-bus . . . and MLK Day. . .

"The greatest film of the last thirty years or so, man."

Laura's sister Kristi is a pharmacy major at "the" Ohio State University and Laura had learned back in December that over the weekend they would be playing one of my all time favorite films "The Big Lebowski" at Studio 35 in Columbus so we decided to make the trip for a nice "weekend" away.

The sort and sweet of it is . . . (1) Cosi Columbus is AWESOME! (2) who knew that there were more than 200 types of Gecko's? (3) OSU is a beautiful campus and downtown Columbus seems equally wonderful (can't wait till the weather breaks to go see it again). (4) White Russian's RULE! ! (5) I missed Gino during the movie, I think he would have enjoyed it (inside joke . .). (6) Studio 35 ROCKS (OK - nearly any theater that has tables in front of your seat and a full bar has to be cool!). (7) You can get some pretty good chicken strips at 1:00 am at Raising Cane's in C-bus! (8) You would be amazed where you can find "sparkly - flying pigs". (9) Albion Burmese Python's are really heavy and (10) . . Man -- I miss Jacob, Hannah and Knoah when I don't see them! !

Laura and I infront of Posiden at COSI in Columbus.

It was a great get away and I am so happy that Laura asked me to go, thank you. I am starting to understand that with work (yes, I do work three to four days over each week - i.e. 12 - 16 hour days), weekends committed (having "Jannob" Friday - Sunday) that I need some "down time" to decompress and be healthy.

Laura, Me, Kristi and . . . . the Snake!

After returning to Adrian I had a wonderful nights sleep and then headed to Monroe to spend the day with Jacob, Hannah and Knoah. Although not the best way to spend MLK day the three of us enjoyed going to the movies and then having dinner at McDonald's with my niece's daughter and my Dad. I was able to give the kids the gifts I picked them up during my visit to Columbus and then I headed home to begin the next three days of overtime!

I have been thinking about the kids, my life, my future and Laura alot of late - and for good reason. I am not getting younger and I know that I am coming to peace with my life and what it has become. It has not been easy but it has been necessary that I learn to deal with and accept those things that I cannot change and to embrace the things that enhance my life and make it better. Music has become, once again, a huge important thing to me and I have fallen back in love with Van Morrison and have found myself finding new meaning to his music and a new outlook. It's a good time to be a father and although is sounds "weird" at my age it's good to have a "girlfriend" who has shown me something in myself that I have forgotten.

A couple more images from our quick trip to Columbus.

Laura and I at COSI . . in the ol'wagon!

At Studio 35 . . with a White Russian ("hey, careful, I have a beverage here, man!") and a Walter "cupcake".

Links to some really "cool" places in Columbus: