Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year's REVolutions

I have decided to create a new concept.  Every year people make New Year's Resolutions to start on January 1st of the next year.  Basically, we come up a list of things that we would like to do to make our old acquaintances be forgotten and our auld lang syne-ing.  But I really think we should flip the script on this old way of thinking.  We are going to be 10 years in on this brand-spankin-new Millennium (had to use spell checker on that one).  Time to make something new out of something old.

The old way of thinking has us putting things on our list like: This year I plan to lose weight.  That is a noble goal.  We could all stand to lose a few poundages here and there (some of us more here and some of us more there).  But there is nothing wrong with the goal.  The only problem is that most of us never lose the weight!  Our goal in the year 2000 might have been to lose 5 lbs and NOW our goal is to lose 40 lbs (This goal has the potential to get worse as the years roll on).  So what does that mean??? That means we get to use it for the same goal for the next year!  That is awesome!

We also put things on our goal-list like:  I will give more to those in need (be it time, money, advice... whatever).  This goal also has merit.  The only problem is that the longer we are in this world the more we find out that WE are the ones that need the time.  We are the ones that need the money.  And we certainly are the ones that need the advice (I fall into all 3 of those categories).  That makes for another goal to be passed down to next year's resolutions.

We also get to use the goal that we plan to save/spend our money wisely.  This one is important.  But we all have different definitions of "wisely".  To some of us, wisely mean spending money on a more fuel efficient vehicle to save more money at the pump.  To others, wisely mean spending more money on a 52" Flat-Panel Sony 1080p HDTV so they can watch Desperate Housew.... I mean... FOOTBALL. **Ahem** Football.  Alas... the goal is a good goal but how do you know when you have met this goal?  I guess your definition of "wisely" will determine if/when this goal can be checked off the list.

There are hundreds of more resolutions, but as you have read just a few of these you will notice a trend.  We all seem to keep putting the same things over and over in our resolutions.  Well, the time to change is NOW!  I am calling for a paradigm (HA! I didn't have to use spell checker on this one.  I did, however, have to use the dictionary though to make sure it's the word I wanted to use) shift!  We need to stop this tradition of cutting and pasting resolutions from one year to the next! Let's bury those traditions and lists like I did all of my 80s Afro pics (they weren't pretty.  And don't tell my mother.  She still thinks I "borrowed" them to preserve them in a digital format. SUCKER!!... Don't tell her I said that either.  Remember this post?).

My crazy plan is that from now on we stop creating a forgettable To-Do list for the following year and we start creating an interesting To-DID list for the year that is ending.  Instead of recycling those good intentions lists for the next year we should start a list of all of the things we actually accomplished THIS year.  This will change the success rate of the lists.  Since most of us fail horribly on our resolutions this would be a way to see a list of 100% success.  To me, It would be much more rewarding.

So, at the time of writing this you have 2 days to answer the question: What did I complete this past year?  And your list is due Dec 31st at 11:59PM (odds say the due date should be earlier because as the clock winds down on the year the chances of doing something productive goes down as well.  Just call me around 11:00PM on the 31st for case and point).

For some of you this whole change is too last minute.  There's just too much to accomplish in such a short amount of time.  Don't worry.  We can make an exception in your case.  Just make it your New Year's Resolution for 2010.  That way it will SURELY get done!  Just add it to the list right below losing weight, or stop smoking, or get a better paying job, or to stop watching too much TV (minus Desperate Housewives), or to read more books... You get the picture.

(Excuse me for a moment while I add this to my 2010 New Year's Resolutions.  I spent too much time writing this into my blog.  I will have to opt for the exception as well.)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Anniversary

This time of the year that brings joy to the hearts of almost everyone.  There's something about the holiday season that makes people forget about the unimportant things in life and focus on what matters.  But I have a small confession.  In addition to the other things that make this time of the year grand... I take a little slice of selfishness and overindulge in a present that doesn't mean much to others but means the world to me.

Every year, on December 25th, I get to celebrate the ending of one year and the beginning of the next year with my beautiful wife.  This is the only present I need and the only one I truly look forward to.  I get to open my eyes and see the most beautiful woman in the world next to me.

December 25th gives me the opportunity to let go of all of the problems in the past because I realize that I had to go through all of those things to get to this exact moment in time.  And I love this moment.  It allows me to forgive those that have wronged me and thank them for their contribution to leading me on my path to my wonderful wife.

This day reminds me that love is limitless.  Just when I think I can love my wife no more, she does something that proves me wrong again.  And I am all to happy to be proven wrong in this case.  It also reminds me that love doesn't solve all of worlds problems but it gives me the strength to do so.

Every year with my wife makes me want 100 more.  And since that is not possible, I will have to fill every moment possible showing her how much I love her.  I will have to spend every moment possible showing her she means everything thing to me.  I will have to spend every possible moment letting her know that I am the best ME because of her.

So, while everyone else is enjoying the holiday season, I'm enjoying the life I always wanted.  And it doesn't matter what I have (or don't have).  It only matters who I'm with.  Loving my wife doesn't mean we will never meet problems, it just means that there is enough love there to overcome anything.

To my wife:
I love you more now than I did when we got married.  And that's saying a lot.  So when everything else fails or you are not feeling your best, just remember that I will be there to make sure you know you are loved.  I will be there to strengthen you.  I will be there to make sure you know you will NEVER be alone in this journey.  GOD has appointed me and I will not let you or HIM down.  And in my eyes, life began and ends with you.

Love's too weak to define just what you mean to me.  I wasn't the first to say that but I mean that more than you will ever know.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Changes to Man Night

What???  So, was anyone going to send me an email or something?!?!  I'm sorry.  When I heard "Man-Night" I was thinking something different. Now, that's not to say I didn't enjoy it or have fun.  That's just to say that I need to make some changes to my blueprint if that's the way things are going to be moving forward.

The first part was what I expected. I was late getting to the "get together" because I had to wait for the wife to get off of work so there would be someone here with the kids.  Personally, I think I could have left them home alone 30 minutes earlier.  What trouble could they have possibly gotten into in 30 min???

Anyway... I go to the Man-Night spectacular.  I get there right before the kickoff of the Cowboys/Saints game.  I would make a sports statement right now but I'm going to leave it alone... for the moment.  But this is the start to what I expected.  We had football.  We had beer.  We had wings.  We even had pizza (I love me some Papa Murphys!).  I wasn't expecting that but I completely embraced it as the way it should have been all along.  This easily carries us to halftime.

So what do we do for halftime.  Beer and Pool (or Billiards depending on where you came from).  That was fun too.  But since I suck at pool (as well as the person I was playing against) the ONE game lasted the entire halftime.  As I knock the 8-ball in (yes, I won) it was time for the kickoff of the second half.

We are going to fast-forward a little bit because the next hour and a half of football was exactly the same as the first hour and a half (Football, beer, wings, pizza, dip... yada, yada, yada).  The only thing I will mention is that my team won.  So I won at pool and my COWBOYS stopped the Saints undefeated run. Also, I am fully aware that I lost half of my readers just by mentioning I am a Cowboys fan.  But the game ended and I'm 2 for 2.  What next?  This is the coveted male Holy Grail.  Surely, we have something else to do.

I know... Let's play Mario Kart for the Wii!  Wait... Did I just say we should play Mario Kart for the Wii? The odd part of this is that it seemed like the right thing to say and more so it seemed like the right thing to do.  So we agreed.  Mario Kart it is.

And though this was fun, I can't help but feel like I just lost my MAN card.  Is this what MAN Night looks like now?  Have I forgotten what it's like to do manly things (I'm sure Spuds is going to jump all over this one)?  But between me and the friend that was hosting this there are a total of 2 men and 7 women!  The guy-to-girl ratio is WAY off.

Most of the time I try to write something funny but this time I have a genuine concern. I'm not really sure what I was expecting out of Man Night.  I was, however, expecting something to happen that I would have to explain to my wife.  And I don't mean that in a Tiger Woods kind of way.  But I was thinking that I would at least have a YouTube video with me dressed in a chicken suit running down the highway doing the Macarena with bells on.  I guess I will have to save that until the next Man Night.

In the meantime... if any MEN have any ideas as to what I can plan for the next Man Night, just let me know.  Women, no offense... but I already get enough of YOUR ideas.  But thanks anyway. :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Where are the Penguin Pjs? - Part 2

Sisterhood of the Traveling PJs.

Well, fellas (all 3 of my male readers (and you know who you are)) you will appreciate this story. It didn't take long for all to be right with the world.  There is this weird feeling you get when you NOTICE things balancing out.  Most of the time it happens and you miss it.  But when you catch it... pure poetry.

Note: If you have not read PART 1 of the Penguin PJs then go ahead.  We will stop so you can catch up.  No, go ahead.  I'm serious!  We are going to wait right here until you finish.

Now that you are done...

This day started like any other.  My job is to make sure that when I leave for work, I have gotten 3 girls ready for their day at school.  There's the feeding.  There's the clothing.  There's diaper changing.  There's the doing the hair (which is always (NEVER) fun).  You get the routine.

Occasionally, my daddy to-do list looks a little different.  And men being creatures of habit hate when there is something different on the list.  Well, today I have to add that the 4-year old's class is having a PJ party.  So my instructions are to take the cookies that my wife made the night before (with love) and to let the 4-year old decide which PJs she is going to wear.  She had the Cheerleader PJs (that I didn't even know she had (even though she has probably worn them several times in my overly observant presence)) and the infamous Penguin PJs.  Now I'm going to give you one guess as to which one she wants.

Because my beautiful wife is always thinking she KNEW that the 4-year old would want the Penguin PJs.  So she had them washed and all I had to do was take them out of the washer and put them into the dryer.  Even I couldn't screw that up (that's not true (but I didn't screw it up!  And that's all that counts!)).

I got the kid fed (early).  I got the kids dressed (early).  I even finished the 4-year old's hair (early).  She didn't fight much because she was wearing her favorite PJs today to school.  Now, it's time for school!  Oh... I almost forgot the snacks.  My wife wouldn't be happy if I forgot those.  So I grabbed the cookies.  NOW, it's time for school.

We get to the 4-year old's school (did I mention... early?).  For some reason her legs were broken and she didn't tell me until now.  So daddy had to carry her into school.  Which is fine for me because the other option was trying to negotiate with her.  Those of you with kids know... what's the point?

On the way to ESP I look into the window and see ALL of the other kids whose parent have to be at work before school starts (I don't know who thought of that concept but I need to have a talk with them).  As I got closer... I noticed... that NONE of the other kids were wearing their PJs.  At first I thought that their parent got up too early and must have forgotten that today is PJ and party day.  Then I thought there was too many un-PJ'd kids for that to be the case.  There must be another reason.  Like... maybe this little fun day was only for my daughter's class.  Sounds reasonable.

We get into ESP and now we are being looked at.  I know my 4-year old couldn't feel it but I could.  There was this "one of these kids is doing his own thing" moment.  That's when I decided to open the backpack.  The note from the school was in there with all of the party information.  I read the bring a snack for x number of kids.  We did that.  I read the wear you favorite PJs part. We did that.  So what is wrong?  We did everything right.  We were ready for the party that was...

...wait for it....

...3 days away.

I hate to admit it, but my very first response was... :).  Fellas (all 3 of you), you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about.  It's that moment when someone screwed up, and it wasn't YOU!  For 1 millisecond I had that HA-HA feeling you get when the world finally spins the right way and all is well.  I'm going to take another moment right here....

.... That still feels good.

But that feeling didn't last long because reality took over.  We were standing there and my daughter was the only one in the whole school that was wearing her PJs.  So what now?  Luckily, we keep a spare set of clothes in her backpack.  They are just for emergencies and I'm pretty sure this counts as an emergency.

Happy ending.  Crisis averted.  Penguin PJs have yet another story to tell.  I can't wait until Thursday to see if cycle continues and the PJs take another victim.

Another Note: I told you my wife is smart.  She got ahead of this story (something Tiger Woods should have done).  She broke this news story on FaceBook.  So this was for all of those people that are not FB friends with her.  You guys got the REAL story.

Also as a friend of mine pointed out, I'm only kidding myself.  Somehow, someway, this is really my fault!  I must study this theory.  I will get back to you with my findings because I'm sure he's right.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Where are the Penguin PJs?

Yeah, I did it!  And I would do it again!  I made a statement and I'm sticking to it.  Some may say it was petty and misguided but to them I say, with the style as grace of a literary genius.... :-P <--- Oh, yeah... Don't mess with the QUE because you might get the tongue! (For some reason the BULL and the HORNS original quote sounds much more... menacing.  I'm not sure why).

This time of the year becomes interesting.  My wife is in retail so she works all the time and late hours.  So that means I get to spend a lot of fatherly time with the kids.  That ALSO means that for those few hours of the day... what I say goes!

If I want to feed the kids Cheerios for dinner (Multi-grain, though.  I'm a good father)... I can. And I'm not saying I have ever done that.  I'm just saying that if I wanted to, there is no one there to stunt my awesome parenting skills.  If I wanted to feed the baby beans when I know it's my wife's night to deal with her... I can.  Again, that's not to say that I would (or have EVER done that).  That's just to prove the point that for these few hours each night during this time of the year are MINE.  (I really should tell you the story about me taking the 4-year old and the 1-year old to the "salon" to get the 4-year old's hair cut.)

With that unwritten rule (which apparently should be written), I have the freedom to dress the kids anyway I choose.  A few nights ago I had one of those "I'm in charge" nights.  So I went through the mental checklist.  I played with the kids... check.  I fed the kids...check (I will neither confirm nor deny the involvement of any said Cheerios).  I gave them baths...check (separate baths, of course.  Those who read this post know why). I put the little one to bed...check.  Now it's time to get the 4-year old ready.

This is where the fun comes in.  She hates brushing her teeth.  So there is always this song and dance when it comes to the teeth brushing thing.  It normally starts with the word NO (GRRR) and it usually ends with me giving my VERY authoritative, VERY stern MANLY voice commanding her to brush or else.  I even stand up sometimes for the affect (Since I'm 6'3" and she's much, much smaller.  That technique has the opposite affect on my wife, though).  She's pretty smart, however.  So I have to watch what and how I tell her things.  If I just tell her to brush her teeth but don't tell her how long, she's usually done in 2.7 seconds (personal best).

Now it is time to change into her night-night clothes.  She always wants to wear her Penguin PJs.  This is an easy one.  But of course... not this night.  When I go to look for them, they are no where to be found.  GREAT!  That usually means they are currently in one of 2 places: the washer or the dryer.  Either way, that's not going to help me now.  DING, DING!  That signaled the beginning of Round 2.  Time for the yelling, kicking and screaming (and that's just me)!  I get to spend the next 10 minutes trying to convince her that her Minnie Mouse PJs are WAY COOLER (they aren't).  What about the Butterfly PJs? NO! What about the Flower PJs? NO!  What about the Panda PJs (which are too big because they are her older sister's hand-me-downs but she likes them anyway)? NO!  What about these???

I reach into a pile of newly dried clean clothes and grab some PJs.  Hmmm... These are cool.  What do you think about these?  And there is was... the 4-year olds approval.  YES!  That's all I needed.  So I put the PJ bottoms on.  Wow, these are kinda tight and a little short.  This is probably the last time she gets to wear these.  I'm not sure if I said that out loud or not, but I was thinking it.  Now for the PJ top.  I had a little problem getting it over her fro (even though I just had it cut a few days earlier).  But I finally shoved her head through the neck hole.  These PJs were too much trouble.  This is definitely going to be the last time she wears these.  4-year old in her night-nights... check!

Parenting skills were in tact.  I started the night with 2 kids and ended with 2 kids (the other was at gymnastics) so that night was a good night. Until... my beautiful wife came home.  As the 4-year old sees mommy, she goes running to her yelling "Mommy, Mommy!" like normal.  But what wasn't normal was my wife's expression.  She was trying to keep a straight face.  She looked a little confused.  She knew it was daddy's night but something was still wrong.  She looked at me and with a very lovely tone asked...

"Why is the 4-year old wearing the baby's 12 - 18 month PJs?"

... What???

... That can't be right.

I really wish I had a good excuse for that one.  All I had was... "She wanted to wear them."  (Which was true) I said that with as much sincerity as I could muster all the while still trying to figure out how that happened.  But my wife knew.  She knew that I had a nice, classic daddy FAIL moment.  And I knew she knew when she fell out laughing!  Then I started kinda laughing (trying to not give it away that I didn't even notice it was the baby's clothes).  But when I viewed the scene with my new perspective I noticed that our daughter did have her Homer Simpson on.  As well as her father... DOH!

We let her sleep in the PJs.  It wasn't cutting off the circulation (that I could tell).  She liked them.  AND she wasn't going anywhere.  So I thought all was done.  But I guess my wife's FaceBook Status Update had a different set of plans.  The next morning, it decided to let the world know that the 4-year old looked like the Incredible HULK that morning and proceeded to tell why.  It turned a wonderfully fun, beautiful and PRIVATE father/daughter moment into something PUBLIC.

Needless to say, dirty or clean, the ONLY PJs my 4-year old will ever wear (on my shift) are the Penguin PJs.  Take that, FaceBook! (notice how I didn't point the finger at my wife.  I blamed FaceBook.  I'm more than a foot taller than she is but sometimes when I stand up next to her I still find myself looking up.)

Monday, December 7, 2009

My Awesomest Gymnast!!!

It looks like I have finally convinced the judges to see things my way.  I have been telling them all along that my daughter is the AWESOMEST!  And they didn't believe me... until yesterday.

(Unfortunately, this post will not be too long because we still don't have the internet at our home.  Our NEW internet should be on Tuesday (we shall see).  2 1/2 weeks in the making)

Yesterday, my daughter competed in the State meet.  We were worried because of the disaster from last year.  Last year she fell off the beam (twice) and that was the very first event.  And for those that know gymnastics... there goes your whole meet.  But this year was different.

She started off interesting... We didn't have to wait long because she was the 3rd person on the vault.  So she lines up, addresses the judges, they give her the ok and she takes off down the runway (I'm pretty sure that it is not called the runway but she doesn't read my blog so I'm not worried about her correcting me).  I have seen this a few hundred times so I'm waiting for her to get to the takeoff line (another plane reference (not sure why)).  And she runs right by it!  She also ran by the springboard.  Then she ran past the horse as well!  I had no idea what that was all about.  She was supposed to jump, spring, flip and land.  She was 0 for 4.  As my 4-year old would say: "That's not supposed to happen."  Luckily, her walk back to the starting point gave me time to think about what had happen and to assure myself that she didn't, all of a sudden, start thinking she was running track.  That would have been embarrassing for all.

So she lines up (again), addresses the judges (another time), they give her the ok (come on, come on!) and she takes off down the tarmac (last airport reference... until the next one of course).  This time she stays on the path.  However, she jumps from the wrong side of the line.  If she had been bowling there would have been that annoying BUZZ that would have accompanied her step.  She also didn't hit the horse right.  And she didn't land right, either.  I just shrank in my seat.  I was mentally dusting off that "you'll do better next year" speech that I had used at last year's State.  But since she didn't actually jump on her first pass, she gets another.  This time she lines up and nails it!

To make this not-so-long story shorter... SHE WAS THE BEST!!!  With each event I was refiling the old speech in my mental rolodex (for the younger generation: mental iPhone contact list).  I editing all of my words line-by-line until I finally had to rename the speech.  It became the "how does it feel to be the best 11-year old gymnast in the state" speech.  That right!  My daughter won the Bronze on the Floor.  She won the Silver on the Beam.  She won the Gold on the Bars.  And she took the coveted GOLD in the ALL-AROUND!!!  I would have given her the Platinum but the medals don't go that high (except in the mind of the fathers).

I will say this... I kinda teared up a little bit.  And not in that "why do they keep killing off my favorite people on Desperate Housewives" kinda way (even though I haven't finished watching this past episode so please don't spoil it for me).  No, it was a much more.  It was that MANLY "I just stubbed my pinky toe really hard on the corner of the entertainment center while my kids were watching and I can't say a bad word or cry" kinda way.

Either way, I'm very excited!  I'm very proud!  I'm even more happy about that than about finally getting the internet back working at my house after 2 1/2 weeks.  But truth be told, getting the internet working again will probably make me do the above Desperate Housewives cry.  I will keep you posted.