Growing Up So Fast

Dear Harvie Sue,

It’s hard watching you grow, baby girl. Things are happening at a rate which daddy can’t keep track of. One day you are holding daddy’s finger and I get ecstatic over that. The next day, you are smiling at me for the first time. Then shortly after you are sitting up on your own. And now here you are eating solid foods for the very first time.

For weeks now, you have been trying to get a hold of the food that mommy and daddy have been eating. To which I would simply remind you that your time would come soon enough. Well that time was yesterday.

Mommy decided to give you pumpkin baby food, and I have to say you ate it LIKE A BOSS. It was like you had always known what to do with it. I suppose you have had lots of practice while chewing on daddy’s phone. And also you are your mothers baby girl. She always did love a good bite to eat.

From the way you are moving about, you will soon be crawling all over creation. I guess it’s time to start baby proofing the house.

Love Dad

52 Reasons Why I Love Your Mom – #7: Quality Time

quality-time

A few months before you were born I read a book called The Five Love Languagesby Gary Chapman. In it he talks about five different love languages that help you learn the secret to love that lasts. One of these languages, is quality time. When my wife an I took the survey to discover which love languages we were, we discovered that we both shared Quality Time as one them.

This makes perfect since because there is no one I enjoy spending my time with more, than your mom. Ok, I enjoy spending time with you too, don’t worry. But there is just something special about spending quality time with the person you fell in love with. It doesn’t matter what we are doing, It could be going to the movies together, walking through the mall, or simply having pillow talk each night before we fall asleep. We always seem to enjoy ourselves. One day I am sure you will find your special someone and then you will understand.

New Favorite iPhone App: TwoDots

Once again, I was browsing facebook on my iPhone, while I was trying to get my little baby girl to sleep, and ran across another cool thing. TwoDots. The Best thing since Tetris. I literally sat and played this thing for like an hour just now and won like 16 levels in a row. I have always loved puzzle games and this one definitely fits the bill. I found my new addiction. All you do is simply connect the dots in any way you can, aside from going on angles. And if you complete a square you clear all that colors dots from the screen. Like any game, with each passing level the challenges get a little harder. If you haven’t heard of it check it out. Let me know what you think below.

Easy Crock Pot Potato Soup

Easy Crock Pot Potato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 30 oz bag of frozen diced hash browns (wasn’t quite enough, so I added a couple extra handfuls.)
  • 1 32 oz box of chicken broth
  • 1 can of cream of chicken soup (10 oz)
  • 1 pkg. cream cheese (8 oz, not fat free)
  • 3 oz bacon bits
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • (1 cup of green onions)*

Directions:

  1. Put the potatoes in the crockpot. Add in the chicken broth, cream of chicken soup and half of the bacon bits.
  2. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Cook on low for 8 hours or until potatoes are tender.
  4. An hour before serving, cut the cream cheese into small cubes. Place the cubes in the crock pot. Mix a few times throughout the hour before serving.
  5. Once the cream cheese is completely mixed in (this is where I added in my green onions)*, it’s ready to serve.
  6. Top with cheddar cheese and some additional bacon bits.

*This is my own alterations


I have always loved potato soup but, having an easy recipe to cook it in the Crock Pot, makes it even better. I saw this recipe on Facebook and wanted to give it a try, so I thought I would share it with you.

I have to say it was the best potato soup I have ever had. And it was so easy, especially for being a dad who works from home. For once, I wanted to be able to fix my family dinner. And this only took minutes to put together, in the morning, and was ready to eat for supper when I got off work.

I would make some alterations though. For one I didn’t think that 30oz was quite enough hash browns so we added a little bit more (we like ours a little bit thicker). I also had some green onions lying around and thought I would add about a cup to add some color and flavor. Also I am thinking about dicing up some celery for it next time. Perhaps even swapping out the cream of chicken soup for a cream of celery.

If any of you try this out or make your own alterations, please let us know in the comments. I’m excited to see what others think!

Late Nights

Another late night with the baby. She never seems to want to go to sleep. I have to fight tooth and nail to get her down, and even then I have to constantly have white noise, music, and a rocking motion in order to maintain that slumber.

I guess I should enjoy these nights, because one day in the not so far future I will be up all night again. Only this time, alone and wondering where the heck she is, who she is with, and when she will be home.

What am I saying? My beautiful angel would never do that to me. Well good night all. Time for some much needed shut eye.

Pregnancy Stressors – Men’s Edition

Pregnancy can be a really scary thing, especially for first time fathers. Frankly, the thought of my wife pooping out a baby, terrified me. Not to mention that I would have to participate. The unknowing just gave me the heebie jeebies. So for all those expecting fathers out there who are really freaking out right about now, here was a couple of things that helped me.

Communicate With Your Partner
Tell your girl how you feel. I remember I was afraid of telling my wife, because I didn’t want to stress her out, or making her feel like her problems were less important than my own. After all she was the one going through all the major changes. In the end, however, I discovered we shared this fear, and knowing you aren’t alone helps make you stronger.

Don’t Watch Birthing Shows
I don’t know why my wife took up such an interested in birthing shows during the pregnancy. Perhaps it was a way for her to be able to relate to others that have gone before. Or maybe it was because she wanted to know what to expect in the upcoming months.

One of her favorite shows was A Baby Story, which aired on TLC. She would watch it constantly. And many times she wanted me to join her. Man, let me tell you, I tried, but to me, it was like watching those horror movies where the music alone has you on the edge of your seat waiting for something to jump out at you.  I mean come on, it was on TLC, so of course there had to be as much drama in the show as they could cram in. So every episode, had its major complications with the birth, and watching only freaked me out further than what I was. I didn’t want to know all the things that could go wrong. Let me deal with that when that moment comes, not before!

Educate Yourself As Much As Possible
With the above being said, what I don’t mean is go into the labor and delivery room not knowing anything. That would be crazy. Take these long drawn out months of pregnancy to learn a thing or two. I remember right after my wife and I found out she was pregnant we started attending some birthing classes. We figured, why wait, the more you know, the better educated decisions you will make.

You should also do your own research online. Birthing comes with a lot of options, and sooner or later your wife is going to come to you for your opinion about a lot of things, such as circumcision, breastfeeding or formula, natural or epidural, etc, etc. The farther ahead in the game you are, the less you will feel bombarded when all these things are thrown at your face.

Another good thing you will discover by researching and taking classes, is a lot of options that you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. After attending our first birthing class on SIDS, I discovered our community also had a father-to-be support group, in which expecting fathers would get together, hang out, grab a beer, shoot some hoops, and be each others support system. I was really excited about this myself, but unfortunately was not able to participate in it, due to the fact that we had to move shortly after this class, and was no longer in an area that offered it.

Pamper Your Partner
Make sure to spend as much time with your wife as you can. Give her a massage. Bring her food. Do anything she asks, no matter how crazy it sounds. By doing this, you are helping to alleviate some of her own worries, by being supportive. This is good, because a lot of times we feed off the stress of others. So the happier she is the less stressed you will be.

Plan In Advance
The more you plan the less you have to worry about. This topic is a broader one. It doesn’t just mean have the hospital bag packed and in your trunk at all times. It also means spend some time with you partner discussing things, such as your birth plan, or finishing your early registration.

Another big one, is knowing what sort of things she expects from you during labor, and also what sort of things she will find annoying, so you know what to avoid. These are always a good thing to know before you get to the hospital and will make for a lot less yelling and gnashing of teeth.

Practice
If you attend birthing classes like my wife and I did, you will learn a lot of techniques that you can utilize during the long hours at the hospital, some of them are fairly easy, while others are more effective, but require a lot more finesse. Practicing these techniques at home will not only give you a good sense of what it will be like during labor, but also will give you an opportunity to help relax the mother-to-be. And like I said before, the happier she is the less stressed you will be.

I am sure there are other things out there that you can find on the web, that can help relieve some of your own pregnancy stressors . If you run across any, or have some of your own from personal experience, leave me a comment below and tell me about it. I would love to hear from you.

52 Reasons Why I Love Your Mom – #6: Her Silver Lining Rule

You know, there are so many people in this world who live very depressed lives. When things don’t go the way they plan, it gives them a great excuse to complain. And the fact that we have social media nowadays, only adds fuel to their already massive fire. Vague status’s such as “I can’t believe he did that!” or “Why did this have to happen to me?”are simply screaming, “Hey come feed off my negative drama.”

One of the great things I love about your mom is that, for one, she never liked using social media for drama. And two, she always liked to look at the glass half full. Nothing ever seems to get her down. And even if something does, it would never keep her down for long.

A few years ago she created this new simple rule that you will probably know very well by the time you are old enough to read these letters, and it goes something like this. Every time you state a negative statement such as, “That food tasted awful!”, or “This homework sucks!”, or “Everybody hates me!”, you would then have to immediately respond with two positives on the same subject matter. So for the example, “That food tasted awful,” you might say, “But I’m lucky to have such a wonderful, mother who is willing to cook for me,” and “At least I’m not having to eat out of a garbage can!” 

By following this simple rule, you take what could have turned an entire evening into a downward spiral, and send it soaring back up to that silver lining, we all should be looking for.

Encouraging Legacy

Wedding Photo
Life is so precious, If we don’t make the most of the short time we have, we will always regret it for the rest of our lives. Today I was reading a wonderful blog about a mother with cancer who still stays encouraged and tries to encourage others even though things are not always the best for herself. It reminded me of my grandmother who passed away from cancer back in October of 2012 only a few months after my wife and I were married.

She use to handwrite personal letters of encouragement to me all the time while I was away at school. Most of the time just to let me know that she hadn’t forgotten about me and was praying for me everyday. I regret not calling her more often, or writing a simple note back in reply. I did on occasion, but not nearly as much as I should have. Gosh, I miss those letters. Ever last one of them has been carefully stored away to be read again when discouraging thoughts start to creep in.

Like this blog mother, she too made it her personal objective to encourage others. The thing that was most important to her, was her family. She would do anything for them. She supported their dreams, their aspirations. She was always excited about every little thing that they tried to accomplish. Even though most of the time she was hurting and tired, once we walked through her doors, Her tears and frowns were stuffed in the back of the closet and her Sunday best would come out.

One afternoon, at the hospital, shortly after she discovered she had cancer, my wife and I were visiting her along with most of my side of the family. We were talking about how we hoped there would be the small pitter patter of feet in the near future. I don’t even know how the subject came up. At some point, one of them asked what we would name them if we had a little girl. We had been tossing several names around, none of which were completely serious because at that point in time, we weren’t really trying. Both of us were still in college and we were wanting to wait until we graduated. My wife and I, being the sentimental couple that we are, had decided we really liked the name Harvie Sue. Partly because my wife has always liked her grandpa’s name, Harvey, and partly as a joke because everybody else in my family never really cared for my grandma’s name, Sue, especially my grandma.

“A girl name Harvey Sue?” they all said, jokingly. We all laughed and the conversation continued and was total forgotten about. A week or so later the doctors informed us that they were going to perform an invasive surgery that would tell them the extent of the cancer. And because of my grandmother’s age, they told us that it might be a good idea to say our goodbyes, beforehand. So each individual family, with tears in their eyes, went in beside her bed. I’m not sure exactly what she said to each of them but, I didn’t have too. The look in her eyes showed that she had once again put on her Sunday best, and encouraging words would soon follow.

When my wife and I went in, she looked at us with a smile on her face, and before we could say a word she said, “You know, I was thinking about that baby girl’s name. And the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. Don’t worry about what the others think. I would be honored to have a little one named after me.”

She came through her surgery without any complications and was with us for almost four more months, but that conversation was one of the last few I remember about her. After she was gone, both me and my wife decided that when we did finally have kids, if the first one was a baby girl, her name would be Harvie Sue. And in 2014 at 1:17am on April Fools Day, our little Harvie came into this world. And everyday when I look into my daughters eyes I’m reminded of my grandma and the legacy of encouragement she left behind.

If there has been someone in your life who has always been a source of encouragement, tell me about it in the comments below. And if they are still around and still encouraging you, give them a call, write them a letter, tell them exactly how much they mean to you. 

Broken Confidence

As a fairly new father, I always like the idea of feeling like I was in control of the things around me. It helped me feel less overwhelmed by all the new responsibilities of fatherhood. When my baby girl first came into this world, I felt a sense of pride and confidence unlike anything that can be written on paper. But as the weeks have started to turn to months, that confidence has slowly began to deteriorate.

Over the last several weeks, my five month old has formed an even tighter bond with her mother. Nothing soothes her except being in her arms. And because we decided to take the breastfeeding route, it has left my wife with little time for any rest. As a result, all the long nights have caused her to become very tired, irritable, and even sick. Which makes me feel as if I’m not doing enough to help her, even though I am doing as much as I possibly know how.

To further complicate the situation, we are barely making it by on my current income. This has forced me into working overtime in order to pay the bills, which, in turn, gives my wife even less of a chance at a break. It might, at least, have been a little bit easier on me if I worked from an office. But currently I’m a remote employee and work from home. And having to see and hear my wife’s daily frustrations hurts me more than I can say.

So as soon as I possibly can clock out, I try to attend to my wife’s every need, which most of the time involves bath time, diaper duty, or simply playing with the baby. This too has started to cause problems. With my wife exhausted and me babysitting, it has left both the house and yard in disarray. Don’t get me wrong, both me and my wife somehow always find time to get some things done either while the baby is asleep or in tow. But you never get as much done as you would like to. And I have had to completely forget about yard work.

And just when you would think it couldn’t get any worse, the rest of the world begins to judge your character as a father, by the state of your wife and your home. And because I work from home all the time, it must mean that I’m a lazy bum who needs to quit messing around all day and actually get something accomplished to help my wife.

At this point my confidence is in shambles. My marriage relationship, my work ethics, and even my attitude towards others have all been effected negatively. It has left me frustrated and depressed with the lack of control I thought I had; I’m angry and hurt (mostly hurt) at the way I’m being judge by others.

Even with all this extra baggage, I love and care for my family way too much to just walk away, but at the same time I can’t ignore my feelings either. Where have I gone wrong? Did I decide to have children too soon? Should I have waited until we were more financially stable? Am I the only father who has started feeling very inadequate with his new role? There are a lot of unanswered questions. I don’t really expect there to be an exact answer to any of them. All I can do is try my best with what I know and learn as much as I can along the way.

52 Reasons Why I Love Your Mom – #5: Respectful

Your mom has taught me that respect is a lot more than just how we say things to one another. It’s also how we listen to each other or how we treat our elders. Such as giving up your seat for someone who is older than you, or not falling asleep in church while the pastor is trying to teach you something. As the old saying goes “Actions speak louder than words.” And being respectful is so much more than simply having good manners. I hope that as I raise you, I’ll learn to respect your feelings as much as I expect you to do the same.