Monday, October 31, 2005

My Kids Want to Party All the Time

Oh, my word. Why am I having another child? Don't get me wrong. I LOVE my kids. Really. But... I just got done spending three hours in a church at a Harvest Party (our Jesus Freak alternative to Halloween) with 60 screaming kids amped up on sugar and caffeine.

THREE hours. Of those three I spent two chasing my 2 year old. Seemingly the only parent that actually did bother to monitor their young one. Yes, my wife and I were keeping track of the older ones too - again, seemingly the only parents that were doing that either. What absolute madness. And why did I did this? Why do we do this?

Simple, we don't celebrate Halloween. So, because of that we want the kids to have an alternative for the night and have some fun. And they really do have fun too. There's a jumpy, games (pie throwing and the like) limbo sticks, field goal kicking, cookie making and the like. It's a blast for the kids and they don't feel like they've missed out on the fun that the other kids are having. Which, for the kids (especially mine) is really what they want. A chance to get out of the house and have some fun.

And man, can these kids go! I'm beat. My back is killing me, I've got a headache and I'm ready for bed. And just to think, I've got at least another 10-12 years of this to go. Lovely. It's like self-dentistry. Ouch! Sigh.

Having said that, it's worth it. Every second. Sure, I'd like to see some parents participate a bit more watching their kids, but I'll live through it. Why? Because it's good for my kids. It's good for my kids not to be celebrating Halloween. It's good for my kids to understand the Feast of Tabernacles, how the Jewish people celebrate the harvest - and the Lord of the harvest. It's good for them to understand the difference between the Harvest party and the Pagan, Wiccan and Satanic celebrations that take place on Halloween. And yes, there are differences between all of the above.

I know a lot of folks say - hey the kids don't care, especially the little ones they just want to put on costumes - and for your 1-2 year old that might be true. The problem is that even at that age I'd be sending a double message to my kids and I'd be making an exception for the little one that my bigger ones couldn't join in. And, being that I've taught my girls that the pagan/Wiccan routes aren't cool in light of the Bible I can't just say "well it's true every day except for 10/31." I just can't say - well kids you know, it's OK to throw away everything we base our life on just so we can put on costumes for the night. No can do. Heck, my kids play dress up all the time - not doing it this one night won't kill them. Actually, it does them a lot of good.

Some folks may say that I've got the whole thing (that being Halloween) all wrong. Maybe. I just know what I've studied on the topic. I've spent a lot of time doing research into the origins and roots of the holiday, how it started with the ancient Druids and the like. It's a very European feast - at least in the traditions that are more commonly associated with Halloween here in the US. Of course, as the tradition has progressed it has also continued to get progressively more graphically gory and terrifying - in large part because we've had such an increase in technology that allows for that. So, we don't celebrate it, we don't celebrate the whole concept of Trick or Treat (which was something that was more done by the spirits that the ancient Celts were trying to appease). And - we're still not being kill joys! See, we be good mommy and daddy!

Well, there you go. I'm finally wound down enough from dealing with 60 screaming kids in a small space to wrap it up and head to bed. Hope you all had a good day - I know (even with all the above!) I did. AND, my Bimmer turned 3 today (well, three years with me - it's really 8 years old) and at 139,000 miles it's still running like a champ!

Peace out.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Hazards of the Manicured Hands

OK. I'll admit it, I haven't had a manicure recently. But, I still keep my hands in pretty good shape. After all, my hands are my life. I spend so much time on a keyboard that my fingers must be appropriately moist, stretched, limber, strong and have nails that are healthy and the proper length. Ever try typing with nails that are too long? That's a pain for sure. But anyway, I mentioned hazards - so I have to tell you.

In my case, it's the hazard of washing my hands to much. As well as being metro, I'm also a BIT on the hegenic side. And, as it's now winter here where I live (see previous post), then danger of washing my hands freqently is that my hands start to dry out. And then.... horrors! Finger splits. It's like nature's version of paper cuts except for in much more uncomfortable places. No, not those places - on my fingers. Gezzsh.

Anyway, so I found myself in a cunundrum. What the heck do I do for these things. The first thing I tried was moisturizer. Well, it was OK. BUT, I still had to wash my hands.

After that I tried bandages. I guess those could work OK, but the hazard of being a metro (and fun) dad with three little chicks in the house is that I don't have a single bandage that (a) was the size for an adult, and (b) didn't have Dora, Boots and Swiper on it. OK. I'm lying. I had two with the Scooby Doo! characters but they were still too small.

OK. So. Moisture. Bandaid. Still no luck. What's a guy to do? The answer?

Liquid bandages.

I just found this stuff at the drug store (our local chain is CVS). Basically, you just paint the bandage on and it's waterproof, flexible and breathable. Seemed like it was worth a try to me! When I opened the bottle it seemed to have a familar scent to it. I was having a tough time placing it, but there was something familiar.

So, I take the applicator brush, drag the sides on the top of the bottle to get off the extra, then I paint it on the split in my finger with a nice even stroke to make sure it applies without caking or glopping. Then BOOM! It hits me! Where have I seen this before? NAIL POLISH. Yup. Clear nail polish. It looks like the same stuff that you can also fix a run in your stocking with (well, OK, at least keep it from getting worse) also turns out to be a great invisible and liquid bandage! And for this I just paid $4.99. Damn. If I had known I could have just used my wifes!

Well, we all live and learn, right? Now you know too. Of course, I'm not going to swear that they're the exact same thing but boy I'm telling you, it's got to be close. Still, now I've spent the $4.99 I'm going to keep using what I have until I don't have anymore - then I'll read the nail polish bottle. Maybe if someone out there already read their polish bottle then can let me know ahead of time. ;-)

Till then, remember, when you use the emory board, only go ONE way!

I don't care how romantic they say it is... snow SUCKS

Yes. October 29. Snow is here in charming New England. Fourty miles from the historic North Church where the term Patriot first came into vogue. Fifteen to twenty miles from the Razor (Gillette Stadium) where the Patriots brought it back into vogue. And we have snow. Cold, wet, damp. Sticky, slushy. Icky. Snow. Yuk.

And this is just the first of many I'm sure. Of course tomorrow and Monday the temperature is supposed to go up into the 60's. And that's all well and good. But today - snow. The first ominous portent of the coming winter, what we now have to look forward to until well into April. Cold. Wet. Snow. Blech.

Sure. Someone out there is singing some Christmas carols some where. Sleigh Ride, Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire, whatever. Me? How about some Beach Boys! Surfin' Safari, 409, In My Room. You name it, I'll take it. Just not snow! Not now! Not this early! PLEASE! Auugh.

Yes, yes. I know I live in Massachusetts. I know we get snow. Yes, I grew up in New England (about an hour south in Rhode Island) and I know we get snow in these here parts. I DON'T CARE. I don't want snow now! Can I move to Boca? Please? Sigh.

Well. Time to look for the heavy comforter, it's supposed to be around freezing tonight. Lovely. Snow. Yuk.

I'll post pictures when I can. :) Till then stay warm, OK? Hopefully where you are it isn't snowing!

Houston - we have a problem.

Yup, there's trouble in River City for sure. Nothing that won't work out at the end I'm pretty sure, but it sure is trouble.

We just found out yesterday that Shanna's pregnancy is a bit at risk. Which of course came as a surprise being that we had just had the ultrasound done on the 19th (about 10 days ago). But, the midwife called to tell Shanna that there is a chance that she has placenta previa and that she needs to check back in for another ultrasound in a couple of weeks (mid-November). So, Houston - we have a problem.

Now, if you've read my previous post then you'll also have a guess at how I'm reacting to this. I am not freaking out - though I'll admit to temptation. It's much tougher for me not to freak out when it comes to the health of a family member, especially my wife and as yet born baby girl. And, we have a friend that had placenta previa who's baby was born prematurely and died within a week or so of being born. So naturally, there is an inclination to say "WHOA!" However, I'm still of the same mind that I was in the previous post and that is that God is God and he's in control. This isn't a surprise to God, it didn't sneak up on him - and being that I trust him then I should be calm as well.

Don't think I've lost my marbles here. There is a valid reason to think this way. You see, there are times in life (especially when you've surrendured your life to God - which means you've given him carte' blanch to work you over to make you into the individual that he's created you to be) that God allows this kind of stuff to happen in a life or two. It doesn't mean that God is evil or cruel and it certainly doesn't mean that there is no God because a "bad" thing is happening to a "good" person (or persons). What it does mean is that there is an opportunity for character, priority, understanding and life adjustments. And, it also means that there is then a test that provides a testimony. And the testimony will be of God's goodness, grace and provision. After all, it is all about him.

In this case, whatever the result (and I must note that there is a chance based on the location of the placenta that as the pregnancy progresses the previa may be negated) I'm sure that everything will be fine. And that means whatever the result. My responsibility now is to find out what I need to do and what I can learn from the situation. Who knows, maybe it will be God's way of adjusting the amount of time I spend serving my wife (she's an Acts of Service girl for a love language, so maybe that improves our relationship even more?!), or maybe because I spend more time at home or dealing with family things I have to get better at prioritizing my extra curricular activities. So, who knows maybe that means no more podcast? (horrors!). Maybe it means I have to be in better shape because I have more to do around the house and with the kids? Maybe it means I need to be more focused on the business so that I can generate more income to pay the hospital bills? Who knows right now. I don't.

But, I do know this. It's an opportunity! So, yes, Houston we do have a problem but that problem is not insurmountable. In fact, it's when we run into problems or obstacles that we actually do our best thinking and come up with our best solutions. With that in mind, I'm looking forward to seeing what happens. I'm looking forward to seeing how this brings me closer to God, how it benefits my relationship with my wife and children and even how it effects my business. And more than all that, I'm looking forward to seeing what God does for us. He's a very cool God and I know he has plans for GOOD for us.

In the Old Testament of the Bible, Jeremiah says this in chapter 29, verse 11 through 14 "For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the Lord. I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope. When you call out to me and come to me in prayer, I will hear your prayers. When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you. If you seek me with all your heart and soul, I will make myself available to you, says the Lord."

With that in mind - we move on grateful for today and looking forward to tomorrow!

Peace out!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

So, I don't have a job. No. Wait. I do.

That was what the past week has been like. That and back pain. I have no idea what I did, I'm still working out like I had been, but suddenly. OW. Thank God for my chiropractor Shadi. Not only is she a peach, but she's great at getting me straightened out. Literally. I think I'll have to drop by again on Friday, but being that I haven't been going that much lately (that means that I've only been going once every 2-3 weeks instead of my usual weekly) I'm not too worried about it.

But anyway, work. Or lack thereof.

Some of you may know, some may not, that I'm a consultant. Most of my work is done in contracts. I had just renewed my contract where I'm working for Q4 and thought we were good to go. Well. That's not completely true. About two weeks ago I thought something was starting to smell fishy for a lot of different reasons. But I still thought that the contract would be good till then end of the quarter.

Guess what. It wasn't. Surprise! At least they waited until the week after my birthday and let me get through that crisis without the added burden!

So, there I was last Friday thinking... Hmmm. Baby coming. Christmas coming. I've got some contractors that I have to pay. I have no income. Beautiful. I, however, did not panic. I repeat, did not panic.

So, the question is "Why?" Good question.

Well, I'd like to say it was because I've been a contractor for 10 years essentially. But, that really isn't it. I'd like to say it's because I've gotten used to the ups and downs, but that really isn't true either. I'd REALLY like to say it was because I know that I'm brilliant, charming, handsome and talented - but we know better. By the way, that isn't to say that I'm not brilliant, charming, handsome and talented because actually - I'm not bad looking, I am charming, I have lots of talent and I'm pretty smart. But that wasn't why I didn't panic. Fact is, I know a lot of people that are better looking, a lot of people with tremendous talent and a bunch that are very charming. It doesn't guarantee anything. So, why didn't I panic? The question deserves an answer. So, here you go.

The answer is, that I realize that my provision isn't dependent on me. Not to say that I don't have to do my part - but I'm not the one responsible for providing. I'm responsible for obeying. You see, I realize that God made me a certain way. He knows my gifts, talents, strengths and weaknesses. He knows what he has in store for me - and he knows the end from the beginning.

With that knowledge, especially over the past two years, I've become far more adept at looking at things that happen as part of the plan. And, while they may not always seem to make sense to me at that moment in time, I know that I have a faithful and loving father that DOES know what's going on and that he isn't going to leave me in a lurch. I believe that because I also do my humble best (and believe me - it's very humble) to (a) read and obey the Bible, and (b) pray and listen for the voice of God. You see, if I follow his voice and trust that he won't lead me astray, then in the end it's all going to work out.

I know. You all think I've taken leave of my senses. Not even close. I've just taken leave of my pride (as much as possible to this moment). This world is a very big place - complex beyond what we can know and/or imagine. I have come to the realization that I'm not God. I don't know everything. So, I don't rely on myself to be God (or even god) and control everything. Yes, this does take faith - however, it is a faith placed in a deity that has over thousands of years proven his love and faithfulness for those who trust him.

I'm not saying this is always works perfectly. It doesn't. You see, I'm stubborn. Sometimes I don't listen. But, I have found that as long as I'm genuinely seeking to do the above that even when I take a wrong turn or a mis-step that God redirects me so that I get to the right spot on the path.

So. There's the answer. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all your ways and he will direct your paths. (Proverbs). I know it isn't about me, it's about Him. I trust that he will provide for me as He has promised, he will take care of my family as he has promised. So, I continue to trust.

Hey, if you don't want to panic next time something that could be pretty disrupting comes up in your life then maybe you should give it a try.

Till next time!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Think Pink

Well, the news is finally in, the word from the sonogram has come forth. I'm a daddy again - of a forth girl.

A lot of folks have asked how I feel about that. I'm thrilled. A lot of folks have asked if we're going to try for a fifth - you know - go for that boy. No. Not a chance. That wasn't why we were having the fourth. Besides, I don't know that I could handle a fifth kid.

Right now my current kid lineup is this. The oldest, my beauty girl - Darth Smarmious. The second, my drama queen, Darth Impetious (hey, I never said I would spell check). Third, my little force of nature - Hurricane Chloe. To that august lineup we'll be adding the fourth baby as the cleanup hitter. Oh man. I can only imagine.

Chloe is my youngest - but she's the one in charge - and make no mistake about it. Halle's the oldest, and she's a great kid and the prototype of the compliant first born. She's concienitous and responsible. Chloe is the youngest, but because she's 5 years younger than her next sybling, she is essentially a first born as well. But she isn't a compliant one. She's two and she trys to run the whole house. Unfortunately for her (really, in the long run fortunately, but for now we keep foiling her plans) she has two parents that are functional first borns - one of which (me) is also not compliant. Alas, in a test of wills, Chloe is going up agains way to much experience ;) Still, this kid is just one special piece of work! And I can only imagine what it is going to be like for her baby sister.

You see, Halle was great with Bayley. Bayley was able to learn to deal with Chloe, primarily because she's just not an aggressive kid -she's a cuddle bug. Chloe - not so much. New Z #4 is going to be in for a rough go. I know in Chloe's mind she's going to be saying INTERLOPER! HOW DARE YOU IMPINGE ON MY KINGDOM! I'm fully expecting their relationship to be a bit like a Tom and Jerry cartoon. In a loving kind of way. :)

Well, time for some rest. I need to get some sleep in now, I'm sure I won't be getting much in about 5 months! And no, that's not because the baby will be up, that's because I'll be up doing guard duty to protect the baby from her big sister.

I know I've officially turned 45

I just woke up a few minutes ago from a odd and funny dream - but I now know I'm 45 for sure. How?

Well, in the dream (which of course was way to complex to attempt to explain) there were several things that tipped it off.

1. The cartoon character chickens were middle aged (Really - I can't begin to explain that).
2. I was leasing property to someone.
3. I told someone (OK - it was Drew Carey) that "their wife didn't like white wine" - and their wife was someone I used to date (I've known my wife for 14 years).
4. I was thinking of importing some of a local girls art for a gallery and resale.
5. I was driving my 1982 Suburu hatch back in the snow and testing it because my wife said it wasn't working correctly - only to realize that the complaint was because it didn't have anti-lock brakes, so she thought it was defective. (Note: My wife is 10 1/2 years younger than I am, but she has had cars without anti-lock brakes outside of dream world).


6. The most telling reason: All of the male dream characters (including the chickens), regardless of being cartoon characters or live action - had receding hair lines.

Yup. I'm officially 45.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Happy Birthday to Me!

Actually - I'm late. My birthday is 10/10 - and a wonderful birthday it is. And this year was pretty great too.

The first reason it was great is because I didn't do anything. A day of strictly R & R. No blogging, no podcasting, no work, no work on my own project. Nothing. I watched the special features of the girls new Robots video, and watched the movie afterwards. I took a 2-3 hour nap in the middle of the day. I worked out, I went out to dinner with the girls (all the girls) - and my wife even picked up the check :) (that's a joke, it's a single income home so it doesn't matter who pays...)

So, this year I'm 45. And, the day I turned 45 almost my first thought was - OH MY WORD, in five years I'll be FIFTY! AUUUGGGH. I can't be that old! And granted, I don't look that old. I certainly don't act that old. My kids are young, I have a baby on the way for March of 2006 and my bride is 10 years younger too. But - there's the reality. FIVE years and I'll be getting the AARP mailers, going for early bird discounts and crusing the Polident aisle. Unreal. And my baby will be going into pre-school. Man, that's strange. And people wonder why I work out so much - are you kidding? I guess it's just my desire to be able to bend over and grab the little ones before they run out into traffic or something.

So. Happy 45th Birthday to me. It's great being 45. Who knows, maybe someday I'll act it too.

Monday, October 03, 2005

CyberGal to the Rescue - The Perfect Metro Daddy Party

You're kidding me. People actually read my blog? And not just but even this one? Shut up!

But still, I guess CyberGal does because she sent me an e-mail and blasted me for not posting. Well exxxxcuuuuuussseeeee ME!

So fine. I've been busy. You know, sometimes it's a real pain trying to be a daddy, get in shape (with my 45th birthday barely 7 days away), be a husband, friend, good employee and entrepreneur - and still have time to blog. But fine, I'm here CyberGal, you win this time.

So, yesterday, my 10 year old had her birthday party. Finally. It only took into the next month to make it happen - and that story is way to long but not very interesting to tell. Still, it was a great party concept, especially for me. It was a spa party. All Halle's friends came over, then the Mrs. and our assistant Brittany treated all the young ladies to manicures, tattoos and a lovely parting gift of their own custom made spa package of scents, shampoo and bubble bath.

Why is this the perfect party for me? Well, how many other dads that you know could have actually discussed the proper way to file their nails? Hmm? But, I am metro daddy after all! Gosh, what will I do if this fourth baby turns out to be a boy?

Well, that's all for now. See you soon - MAYBE. No promises!