Monday, May 21, 2012

Just a bit "overdue" . . . :-)

Now that Ethan is more than eight months old and I am still not caught up on sharing him I thought that the quickest and most simple way would be to "pirate" some of the video's that Laura has made so that he can not only be seen but be "heard".

Ethan on Halloween . . . . just 2.5 months old. 

Ethan at 4 Months . . . . "Giggling" and being his normal happy self.

The now "famous" . . . "Ethan Song" . . .

So he, like every kid, changes nearly daily and is gaining so much more personality then you could ever have imagined.  He loves playing with Jacob, Hannah and Knoah and it is so cool to see him (as he is now crawling) go after Knoah. 

There he is . . . . eight months old and the entire world waiting in front of him!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

". . . . ticking away . . . . "

". . . ticking away, the moments that make up a dull day . . . . You fritter and waste the hours in an off hand way . . . you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking . . . . and waiting around, it comes up behind you again . . . the the sun is the same in a relative way but your older and shorter of breath and one day closer to death . . . "

(Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon)

So - Mothers Day 2012 has now passed and I am working 68 plus hours a week and have one day off (Saturday) to kinda plan on what I was going to do for Laura on this her first Mother's Day and what I could "encourage" or help Jacob, Hannah and Knoah do for their Mom. Which means, for anyone that knows me . . . . I am a bit stressed! I feel like I have been "chasing" the sun and . . . well . . he / she is winning! Not "winning" like Charlie Sheen was but . . . really, "winning".

I have had to cram a lot of "thought" into what I wanted to do for Mother's Day in a short amount of time and sadly . . . I will be working on Sunday but . . . that does not mean I can't be thoughtful, right? So - Laura was a great help and decided that she knew what she wanted (which to be fair is actually cooler than what I thought about getting her) so I got her a case for her newest toy (an iPhone) with a photo of Ethan and Snickers (see below) on it from Easter. I also know that I will make her breakfast and deliver it in bed with fresh flowers.

I am going to help Jacob, Hannah and Knoah put together a photo montage for their Mom and want to make sure that I encourage them to be "extra nice" to her on Mother's Day.

So . . . what have I been up to? I feel like after the last couple of blogs that I have kinda veered into being a bit of a cry baby when . . . nothing could be further from the truth. I am really enjoying myself right now.

I have an audition coming up with a band that plays my kinda music . . . . . which is to say . . . blues rock. I am not counting my chickens before they hatch but I am really excited about this. In talking with the guitar player it's kinda funny that he and I have not crossed paths in life at some point. Although he is a few years younger than me (three to be exact) he grew up in one of the most wonderful towns in America . . . . yep, Monroe! We are looking at some really cool music (OK, if your an old cat that digs BB King, Albert King, the Black Crowes and the likes of folks like that . . . you would dig it). Anyhow . . . keep your fingers crossed . . . . :-)

Since . . . . nearly forever . . . I have not been feeling all that great so a couple of weeks ago we went to the Blissfield train days and in walking around I became pretty winded and made the kids a promise that I would go to the doctors. Well . . . I kept my promise and found out that I actually have had pneumonia for a while which is not really all that wonderful. They gave me some antibiotics for it, a bunch of shots and did some blood work, EKG, chest x-ray and some other poking and prodding. I felt pretty good for a couple of days but have seemed to go back to where I was. I am planning on calling a doctor soon and will find out what is up. I know I should be a bit more worried because of the symptoms but . . . . to be fair . . . . I am just not that stressed about it, ya know.

Summer is coming and I have been looking at how can I spend as much time doing things that I really . . . . enjoy and at the same time . . . work to make the money I need. I have concluded that while this isn't possible I will still try! I am going to take several "long weekends" so that I can spend time with the Jacob, Hannah and Knoah and the Ethan-ator with me all day! This will be really helpful for me on so many levels.

I have already started planting some flowers in pots (as I do every year) and they are starting to sprout which makes me really happy . . . I have always loved planting flowers and taking care of the yard. In the course of my adult life one of my biggest "man prides" was a pond a pond that we once had that had fish and flowers all around it . . . vines growing and flowers blooming with a fountain and fish . . . . it was way cool! We have a ton of flowers starting to come up around the house and I still have a more seeds that I want to get into the ground . . . I am really looking forward to seeing things bloom.

Hannah's dance was awesome and very sad at the same time. My daughter is growing up and this is . . . . . so sad for me. Jacob asked me if I would go with him on his class trip to Cedar Point in June and I am trying to get the money together to take him. He is going to go with me in June when I got to Chicago for five days for a conference. Both he and I are really excited about this.

Ethan had his nine month doctors appointment and continues to do "amazing". He is standing and (honestly) trying to take a step. He has already said his first word . . . yep, "da da". He is now eating more "human food" and is in the 95% in all of his development!

What else could I discuss about my life right now . . . . . not much, honest. Things are going pretty good. I still have a ton of things that I need to take care of and I will do that as time goes on but I do see that things can become the way that I want someday . . . . I just need to take baby steps and I will get there!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Stolen Post Alert! !

   So, Hannah has her first "Father / Daughter Dance coming up this weekend and last night while working my second job she "texted" me photos of the dress she is going to wear.  It was wonderful to see this and to feel a "part of it all" but . . . it highlighted the very fact that . . . I am really not in so many ways a "part of it".  With working two jobs I am now getting the kids on Saturday and spending just one night with them to only take them home around two on Sunday's.  Of course . . . this is not something that brings me joy but . . . I know it is a necessity and really I have no choice.  The trouble is that it always brings up that internal struggle of . . . how can I be a good dad when I am not there? 
With that in mind, I found an article that I wanted to share.  So - here is "Being a Good Divorced Dad Means Not Giving Up On Your Kids" by Jeffery M. Leving.  I will admit that I pilfered this post from the "Father's Rights Blog" (see link at the bottom). 
Being a good divorced dad means not giving up on your kids

By Jeffery M. Leving

Most divorced fathers want to spend as much time as possible with their children but oftentimes, for a variety of reason, feel they can’t.

Being a “Good Divorced Dad” oftentimes depends on how much time a father is able to commit to their children. It’s one of the topics I address in detail in my new book, which comes out this Spring, “How to be a Good Divorced Dad: Preventing the Divorce Process and Its After effects from Hurting Your Relationship with Your Children.”

Sometimes, the causes that prevent divorced fathers from becoming good dads have to do with the provisions of the divorce agreement, limiting the time they can spend with their children. Other times, the factors involve personal hurt or lack of self-esteem caused by the divorce. You may be a father physically but not in the spirit that allows you to put the strength and time into it that is required.

In many cases, divorced dads accept a restricted role that is often imposed on them by these circumstances.

But you can change that and you can be a great divorced dad who becomes a role model for your children for years to come.

My book walks fathers through the process of identifying the obstacles that prevent divorced fathers from protecting their relationship with their children.

I call them the Seven Deadly Sins of failed divorced fatherhood. They are: the terms of the custody agreement; orders of protection; financial problems; legal trickery; gender bias; guilt; and anger.

In each instance, there is a strategy to improve the amount of time you spend with your children and to improve the quality of that time.

For example, in the case of having to live under the terms of a very restrictive custody agreement, you can become available to your ex-wife to assist her by being there to help with the children. Too often, the personal animosity that results from many divorces prevents this, but your children need you.

You have to watch for opportunities when your ex-spouse will need help with the children and be there to take advantage of the opportunities. And you have to strategically think about how you approach this, not feed into the anger.

You may be hurt about the divorce. Your ex-wife may be a vengeful person. You need to control your own emotions for the benefit of your children. Why allow your former spouse’s anger to impact your relationship with your children?

A good lawyer will also be able to help with the language in your custody agreement to facilitate opportunities to increase contact with your children. They can be built into the agreement.

In each of these challenges you will want to insure that the time spent with your children is quality time. You need to work on that, but there are methods to help you do that. Planning your time with your children will vastly improve the relationship.

Having a competent, experienced attorney at your side will help avoid many of these challenges, such as avoiding an order of protection that is based on false allegations against you. Many father are coerced by guilt and a gender-biased system into believing that they must admit to fault when there is none.

My book has a list of questions divorced dads can answer to help make them stronger and more effective divorced dads. Knowing them. Thinking about them. And answering them will help improve your experience with your children.

The point is don’t give up. Control the process of divorce in order to control your relationship. And make sure your rights are properly represented when you begin the divorce.

(Named one of “America’s Best Lawyers” by Forbes Radio, Jeffery Leving is the author of two ground-breaking books, Fathers’ Rights and Divorce Wars. He can be reached at
In all fairness, this article would be best for fathers getting ready for a divorce but . . . it still gives me some hope.  I have always maintained that I don't believe in divorce and still to this day find it destructive and harmful. 
Looking back now on my divorce and thinking about the Seven Deadly Sins of failed divorced fatherhood. They are: the terms of the custody agreement; orders of protection; financial problems; legal trickery; gender bias; guilt; and anger.  I know that I was greatly impacted by not having full financial disclosure prior to and during the divorce and I should have done this.  I also know that, while the term "legal trickery" is a "strong" term . . . it fits once you consider that the "divorce agreement" you signed is not the one that gets "reprinted" and turned into the court and that this one . . . gets mailed to an address that you have not lived at in ten months . . . . call it whatever . . it sure sucked.  Guilt and anger . . . sure.  What man does not feel guilty that he has failed? 

Of all the things that I think I have learned the one that I would share with others is that if your are going to divorce . . . get an attorney.  It's OK to want to be "nice" and work things out by yourself but . . . even with the best of intentions the odds are stacked against you.  Gaining legal disclosure would have helped me so much and would have, I believe, also benefited my relationship with the kids.
Still . . . most of this is my "thoughts and opinions" but the one thing that I know for sure is that Mr. Leving's book can be bought on Amazon for 4.26.  Mine will be here next week . . . . I hope it helps . . . . :-)