Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bump! What was that noise?

No this is not a double post as this noise was not under the bed but from from beside the bed. This is what I heard....
  • BUMP!!!
  • The CFO: "Jackson hit his head!"
  • The CFO: "Turn the lights on, it's bad."
Just as any good husband would, I obeyed and turned on the lights. Sure enough Jackson had a good sized goose egg on his head. We hear that is a good sign. He did not loose consciousness, also a VERY good sign. But he did scrape it pretty good so there was a little blood. We know that with head trauma you want to see if the patient becomes groggy. Well, it was a little after one thirty in the morning. Who wasn't groggy? We all stayed up for a bit and gave him some Motrin for the pain. It was a fine line we danced on... keep him awake but not so awake that he wanted to play:)

Turns out Jackson had climbed into bed with us and then promptly rolled out of bed. Another lesson to add to the list for the Triplets:
  1. No good deed goes unpunished.
  2. Don't stick your hands on (in) opening (or closing) elevator doors.
  3. If you get in bed with Mommy and Daddy, get in the middle.
After about 30 minutes I was satisfied that he was OK. The CFO, like all Mothers, kept her vigil for another hour after we allowed him to go back to sleep. By the time she decided he was OK the swelling was almost gone.

If things happen in threes I can't wait to see what #3 is! - That is sarcasm:)

The CFO curled Addison's hair for the first time! OK with me as long as Addison knows that IS NOT a Daddy job. I gotta draw the line somewhere:)

A favorite quote of mine from a good friend. The quote is from many, many years ago. This was his response to me when I pointed out an attractive lady to him.

No matter how good looking someone is you must remember this..... someone, somewhere is sick of their mess (I changed the last word to take this from an R rating to a PG rating but you get the gist)


Monday, June 29, 2009

What's gonna work? Teamwork!

You might recognize my title if your child (you) watches The Wonder Pets. Well, it was true for us yesterday when we left Church. The Triplets LOVE taking the elevator at Church. As many buildings in Birmingham are, our Church is on a hill. We park on the first floor and take the elevator to the second floor to the auditorium for Church. Everything was going like normal yesterday in the elevator on the way down. That is the CFO and I were telling the kids not to put their hands on the doors (the elevator has two as you walk in one door and out the other) and not to touch the alarm or call for help buttons.

Then all of a sudden I hear the CFO yell "Help, his arm is stuck!" William seems to be our "special" child that does the things that sends our adrenaline rushing. Yep, he was putting his hand where he shouldn't, between the door and the elevator. It is SUCH and inviting crack and just the right size for a toddler's hand but it turned out to be a bit too small for the arm:) His arm was stuck just before the elbow with the rest of his arm sandwiched between the door and the elevator. That is when I learned that while an elevator door will re-open in something gets in it's way of closing it WILL NOT re-close if something gets in it's way of opening. LOVELY!

We quickly pushed the call for help button and started trying to force a bit more space between the door and the elevator to get him free. After what seemed forever he was free! It was probably only 20 seconds but it seemed like FOREVER! Luckily he just got a few scrapes but we now know why Mommy and Daddy say not to touch the door!

Jackson and Addison help the CFO water some flowers that we need to plant. William was still taking advantage of his afternoon nap.

Today is a most unusual day, because we have never lived it before; we will never live it again; it is the only day we have. Today can be a healthy unusual day for you -- and for others -- if you take time to give someone a smile . . . to express a word of kindness . . . to lend a helping hand to someone in need . . . to write a note of gratitude . . . to give a word of encouragement to someone who is temporarily overcome with problems . . . to share a portion of your material possessions with others.
William Arthur Ward


Saturday, June 27, 2009

When do you "become" a Christian?

While camping with our friends we often spend quite a few hours around the campfire after the kids go to bed. I use the term "go to bed" VERY loosely. For us it means you give each of them a glow stick and tell them they get to keep them and they can stay up as long as they are not too loud and stay on their sleeping bags, a.k.a. don't jump on our air mattress:) During this last trip I was talking about my formative years (are there unformative years?). I won't give the details but let's just say I was VERY "worldly." After one of my comments one of our friends said "but that was before you were a Christian." I then mentioned that I always wonder about that... when do you "become" a Christian?

I know the pat answer is when you take Christ into your heart and you are baptized. But by that definition I became a Christian back in 1998 and I DEFINITELY did not try very hard to act like a Christian for quite a while after that. Also if you "fall away" as many people do during their lives are you then no longer a Christian? I want there to be another term we can use for people that are trying to follow Jesus. Christian has been so misused it now has a negative connotation for many people and I believe it can actually be counterproductive to what Jesus wants us to do.

That begs the question "What do Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit want us to do?" My answer is that they (He) want(s) us to love each other first and foremost. I believe that sometimes if not quite often the moniker of "Christian" gets in the way of that. So what to call those of us that want to show people how much God loves them through us first and foremost? Keep in mind I am not saying I am better than anyone else for wanting to do this I just think God calls us to Love and everything should come out of that.

I think far to often Christians are seen as Judging others and saying who is and who is not going to heaven or hell. I remember in my first job out of College I worked at ERAC and I would CRINGE when someone pulled up with a "Jesus" front license plate, was a "reverend", or their voice mail said to have a blessed day. If any one of those was there the probability that they would be rude, not pay or just be a VERY difficult customer was VERY high. So I too see "Christian" as having a negative connotation and I AM ONE!

I am kicking around the idea of asking our Church if I can make up T-Shirts to sell to raise money for the Church. The front would just have the logo. On the back would be a funny but true saying. Maybe something like....
  • I won't judge you, I'm a dirtbag too! Matthew 7:1-3
  • I've got enough to worry about without judging you. Matthew 7:1-3
I would love to hear more suggestions!

Keep the faith!


Friday, June 26, 2009

Safety first

There are some good things the Triplets are picking up from and some not so good things they pick up from me. For instance, one night as the CFO and I were playing with the kids before bedtime. While Addison was sitting in the CFO's lap she looked right at me and said SHUT UP! The CFO said "where did she get that from?" I sheepishly looked at her and said "It was a very bad day, it slipped out" :(

One of the good things Jackson seems to have picked up is that I am a good bit safety conscious. Of course he has to take it to the extreme as he LOVES pushing the line. He also is only safety conscious on his terms:) Like yesterday leaving their school. He is very aware of "car(s) coming" and tells us all to stop. But for some reason he is VERY proactive at their school. "Car coming" includes any car with their lights on, that is running, with someone in it or someone in the process of loading their kids in their car. So you can imagine this takes a while as parents pick up their kids at the same time each day. There we sat for about 20 minutes in the heat, albeit in the shade, waiting on all the cars to leave. But the kids were happy and enjoyed waving to everyone as they left so I sat there and took in the moment. I try to remind myself it is OK to take your time every once in a while and just enjoy the moment, even if it is in the mid 90's:) One parent even stopped to ask if we were having car trouble. I thanked her but explained my predicament. Just another "toddler lesson" for Daddy, be careful what you ask for:)

William has become quite photogenic and loves posing for the camera.

I take the view, and always have, that if you cannot say what you are going to say in twenty minutes you ought to go away and write a book about it.
Lord Brabazon (1884 - 1964)


Thursday, June 25, 2009

I (we) made it to the YMCA!

It has been about a month but I (we) finally made it back to the YMCA. Not sure why it has been so long. Oh, I have my excuses:
  1. We were busy with vacation, VBS, etc...
  2. The kids really enjoy going to the Zoo, Science Center, etc...
  3. I have been lazy:)
In all reality it is probably a combination of all three!

We have now been cable free for about eight months and we still love it! Yeah, we miss some stuff but all in all we don't miss having it. I especially don't miss the bill:) We utilize Netflix's download option a lot. The kids get their Thomas the Train fix when they want and we get what we want.

I finished watching Supersize Me last night. We rarely watch an entire movie in one night:) It is a pretty good movie if you can get past the HUGE slant against fast food. It would be one thing if he just ate every meal at McDonalds but oh no.... He usually orders the worst stuff and then forces himself to eat all of it. If you did that from ANY restarant you would be sick after 30 days, even a vegan one. His girlfriend is vegan and acts like it is the "right" way to eat:)

What I did like about it was to show how much we are Pavlov's dogs when it comes to what we eat. See the add, gotta have it. What scares me is what our kid's are exposed to. No, I am not going to stop taking the kids to McDonalds as a treat. But that is what it should be a treat, not a regular stop. So I am now recommitted to fixing our own food whenever I can. The next movie I want to see, Food Inc., will probably make me want to change my eating/shopping habits even more.

The Triplets made it to their first baseball game when the in-laws came to visit a while back. They LOVED it! Hotdogs, popcorn, Crackerjacks, what is not to love?:)

Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer.
Ted Williams


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Naps make everyone happy:)

I have gotten quite use to my daily 30 min - 1 hour naps with the kids. They usually nap 2-3 hours so I still have some "free" time during the day. I just noticed yesterday that I have been much more calm and patient with the Triplets. Don't get me wrong, we still have our moments but they are much fewer than before I started taking naps. This kind of bugs me as I like getting stuff done. But it is MUCH more important to me that I be a good and patient Father so I will keep up the nap schedule. I know for most people napping would be a treat but as you might surmise I am different than most. I always say "normal is boring."

I use to love getting into work at 6:30am (office opened at 8am) and working till 7pm (office closed at 6pm). Yep, I was and still am a workaholic. What can I say, I love getting stuff done. But don't confuse what I like.... if EVERYTHING is done I am fine laying around watching a movie or playing a video game. So it is not the process I like but the results. The CFO use to get these two confused and would say something like "Al likes washing the car." Nope, I like a clean car so I wash it.

I now try to balance my three jobs....
  • Father - teaching, training, and nurturing the Triplets. Yes, I think a Father can nurture, we just don't coddle:)
  • Husband - making sure the CFO remembers that she is my "bride" and not just my "wife."
  • Houseboy - laundry, cleaning, shopping, lawn duty, fixing broken stuff, etc...
It is a tough balance as I want to do all three to the nth degree. Who knew my knowledge of exponents would come in handy again:) But I have discovered it is impossible as I do require sleep. So I am ever moving my "chips" between these three stacks.

We went to another state park over the weekend checking out possible new camping sites. Jackson was camera shy that day:)

There's no present. There's only the immediate future and the recent past.
George Carlin


Monday, June 22, 2009

Fathers' Day

The CFO actually surprised me with a great gift for Fathers' Day! This is a VERY rare thing as I am VERY tough to buy for. Well, that is not true... you buy, I take back:) She bought me a great camera bag and there is a very good chance I won't take it back:) We got a surprise visitor while cooking lunch. A VERY cute little dog came to visit us. He had a collar and leash on but no tags. The kids got to play with him for a little while before the CFO noticed the neighbor walking around behind our house.

The Triplets were none too happy about having their new toy go away. Maybe there is another dog in our future....

Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have - life itself.
Walter Anderson


Saturday, June 20, 2009

God our Father....

I may have mentioned it before but I never began to understand or think very much about my relationship with God until we had kids. I know that sounds shallow and very "worldly" but it is what it is. You always hear God "our Father" or "the Father" but much like with my Father, I knew he loved me, he was there and I loved him but I never really "got it." That is not to say others cannot "get it" without kids and it DEFINITELY is NOT a reason to have kids:) If anything having kids can drive you to do things that pull you further away from God if you are not careful.
I see kids like putting nitrous oxide in a car. It makes you go faster no matter what direction you are going. That could be good or very, very, very bad. I laugh every time I hear someone say something like "a child will help our marriage." I do not think they help or hurt a marriage. Rather I believe they accentuate the marriage. If it is stressed it will stress it more. If it is strong it will strengthen it.

Back to God our Father... I use to think it was somewhat arrogant for God to want us to worship him until I realized that my worship is just one of the ways I show him that I love him. Just like I want my kids to love me and I need to show my Dad I love him. I do not expect the Triplets to have a "worship service" for me but a song might not be all that bad:) But seriously I now better see where God is coming from (as so far as my limited sight and knowledge will me allow me to.) As a Father I want my kids to do as I say but I am OK if they question me, most of the time. If a car is coming towards us I do not appreciate the inquiries:) But I really don't mind, yet, if they ask me for something other than I am offering. Like when I offer milk and they want water. They just need to deal with the fact that sometimes the answer is no or not right now. Boy oh boy, do I need to learn that about my relationship with God!

Just like God I allow my kids to make decisions that will have poor consequences for them. No, I do not allow them to play with electrical outlets but I frequently tell them "if you do that you may bump your noggin." Take for example when one of our kids breaks a toy and some other thing that seem minor to us but to them are earth shattering, life altering experiences for them. Much like with us and God I expect. If one of the Triplets breaks a toy their world comes crumbling down around them. I may be thinking "what is the big deal, that toy is only temporary, why all the crying." Or better yet when you "leave" your child whether that be to go to work, dinner, whatever. They sometimes cry like you just dropped them off at the fire station never to return. Don't we feel that way when someone dies? God keeps telling us that we will all be together again but oh how so hard it is for us (me) to trust him.

From this perspective it makes it easier to understand how God "lets" bad things happen to good people, if from his perspective the "bad things" are temporary. Just look at what God has to say about his perspective on our lives. I know there is a lot more in the Bible but I think those passages are very telling. Of course it is easy to say all this when things are going well. The challenge is remembering that perspective when we are the child whose world is crumbling around them.

I find it humorous that I write this right before Fathers' Day, it was not intentional.

Fake it till you make it,

Friday, June 19, 2009

Who makes the decisions around here anyway?

So we have our "Triplet of the Day" deal and it is going great! The only downside is that they will not choose to let Daddy work out at the YMCA or do some other not-so-fun things unless prodded. For one reason or another it has been about a month since I have been in the gym. Don't worry... the Triplets are keeping me in shape:) I just miss my workouts. I get 30 minutes of news from CNN, Fox or some other talking heads while I do cardio. Then I lift free weights and/or shoot a few hoops. Oh well, all in due time:)

One of the many things I struggle with is what to do with the kids. Should I be "teaching" them more? Since we get out of the house almost every day we do not have a lot of "free" time. I also want them to have fun. I just have to remind myself not to force them to have fun my way:) Maybe we will cook pizza today and get me out of my lazy slump at home.

We have been Very tired the last few days... a good movie did us the other night, "Quarantine." It looked like a GREAT horror flick but what we didn't expect, but were very pleased with, was the Zombie spin in it. We LOVE Zombie movies! We were up till midnight and the CFO has been getting up at 5:30 am to go walking in the morning with a friend. But all worth it for a good Zombie movie:)

A few VBS photos... play time for the Triplets while Daddy "works" :)

I also have always liked the monster within idea. I like the zombies being us. Zombies are the blue-collar monsters.
George A. Romero


Thursday, June 18, 2009

A new schedule...

As usual the Triplets are consistently inconsistent. They were on a great schedule of sleeping in till 7am or 7:30 am. Unfortunately our camping trip has changed that. We now get greeted by all three at 6am, which just coincidentally happens to be when quiet time ended at the camp ground. Just like always... no good deed goes unpunished:) Take them on a camping trip for some fun and there goes my schedule. Oh well, just another day in the neighborhood:)

We all crashed after getting back from camping!

Delusions of grandeur make me feel a lot better about myself.
Jane Wagner


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I am getting lazy...

Lately I have been on a lazy streak. Cereal (with or without milk) or oatmeal with brown sugar and raisins seems to be the norm for breakfast. I also have been relying quite a bit on chicken nuggets or hot dogs for dinner. I hope to snap out of this soon but the kids certainly don't seem to mind it:)

Funny how that works isn't it? We bust our bohunkuses for our kids... buy organic this, homemade this, good for you that, vitamins/nutrients galore and they go and they reward us when we are being lazy!:) They should spit those nuggets and fries at us and say "what are you crazy? I need green beans and brussel sprouts!" It is funny how many ways that our "flesh" is weak. I have also been sneaking (yes, the CFO knows) an hour nap with the kids each day. This is only adding to my laziness. Add to that I feel better and am not as tired as I use to be... ugh! I need to make this look hard or the CFO might want to switch positions and send me back to work:) I would have to go on business lunches, take people to Starbucks, take business trips to fun places, and have an expense account again... eeeewwwwww! Who wants that?! I like my shorts and t-shirt 24-7 job at home. Oh yeah, I also get to spend the day with our Triplets and help the Lord shape them into the people they will grow up to be.

Oh well, as part of my get back into stay-at-home parent workout I need to start preparing and cooking 20+ pieces of organic chicken. I cook it in big batches then freeze it and reheat as needed.

The kids LOVED catching frogs with the CFO! Addison with her "game" face on:)

Any man, in the right situation, is capable of murder. But not any man is capable of being a good camper. So, murder and camping are not as similar as you might think.
Jack Handy


Monday, June 15, 2009

A camping we will go... part deux!

Yes, we are CRAZY:) We go camping with 2 1/2 year old Triplets in June during a Thunderstorm Watch. Well, that is not exactly true... there were several Severe Thunderstorm warnings:) Not only did we go camping but we went with our also crazy friends and their two kids. We were blessed with God's protection and an ample amount of gear/gadgets. We tried out our new bigger tent and it worked great! I was a little nervous as I had not yet had a chance to seal the seams but we only had two very small leaks and in POURED several times. We also got a chance to "road test" our new canopy. It also performed very well considering it had no waterproofing treatments either.

I even got a HUGE compliment over the weekend! About the kids? No..... Remember I am a man so while I love the compliments about the kids (it is actually God who deserves all that praise) I cherish the VERY rare man praise. Two ladies were walking by and commented on some of our camping equipment and how much they liked it... I was beaming! Then they actually brought their husbands back and took pictures! THAT is what I am talking about! This may sound trivial but when your other cool stuff is a minivan and washer/dryer you miss the man-compliments:)

I also got to try our our camp shower (for rinsing things/kids off) and 5 gallon collapsible water jug (for washing hands). Both worked like a charm. Now the only stuff we "need" are fire gloves (gloves that you can pick up burning logs with) and a mat for outside of tent where we can leave our shoes.

As usual we all ate whatever we wanted (see camping rules) and stayed up way too late. But we also, as usual, had a great time with our family/friends and learned more about ourselves and each other.

The kids really enjoyed throwing rocks and anything else they could put their little grubby hands on into the water. Jackson followed through a bit too much on one throw..... It moved up our bath time:)

What I like about camping is you can get really dirty. Either you're all by yourself, so no one else sees you, or everyone you're with is just as dirty as you are, so nobody cares.
Anonymous former Boy Scout, quoted in Highs! Over 150 Ways to Feel Really, Really Good Without Alcohol or Other Drugs by Alex J. Packer


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Why is it so hard to pray?

For some reason I have always had a hard time praying. Especially out loud. I am not talking about my prayers that ended in "and I promise I won't do it again." I use to be VERY good at those prayers:) I am taking steps to fix this "opportunity" of mine including volunteering to lead the prayer at our Church during communion or giving. That way I can have some time to plan what I am going to say.

I figure one I can handle the "planned prayer" then I can move on to the spontaneous out loud prayer. You know the one where someone asks "Will you lead us in prayer?" Right now I do not accept those "offers." In one class where we were sitting in a circle one of our Shepards started a "round robin" prayer. I quickly told him that I was going to "pass." The funny/nice thing was that I think it gave some other people the courage to do the same thing as one or two did so.

I am not advocating sitting in your comfort zone but I do think that people should not be forced or pressured to pray out loud if they do not feel comfortable doing so. Encouragement is another thing all together. The CFO and I have talked about this and she IS very encouraging. She reminds me that there is not necessarily a "right and wrong" way to pray but I do not want my prayer to take away from someone's experience at Church or any other gathering. I figure other people are better at it so let them handle it, for now.

The first hurdle in my quest of prayer is getting my head around (as much as we can as humans) that God is infinite and can hear ALL PRAYERS. I use to really have a hard time saying something other than "Thy will be done." I mean who am I to ask GOD for something? Not to mention that my prayers are but a speck of dust compared to the boulders that others are carrying, like praying for good weather for instance. Or how about the fact that we cannot know what is "good", only God does. What if God granted my prayer and it ended up being a bad thing? Think of what winning the lottery has done to some people! Also, where do you stop? Oops, forgot to pray for the orphans in this or that country or what about world peace or etc.... It also seemed a bit shallow to pray for yourself when others need so much, just watch the news. I have gotten better at this as my "crutch" is the Holy Spirit, Romans 8:26. Such an enabler:) But relying on that does not help others very much if you are the one leading the prayer, people expect words not groans from the Holy Spirit.

But as we know it is always a journey. Our destination will not be realized in this world unless we are here when Jesus returns.

Keep the faith,


Friday, June 12, 2009

The Triplet of the Day is......

The CFO had another GREAT idea recently. Well actually she had it a while back but we just recently implemented it:) Each day there is a "Triplet of the Day." They get to choose EVERYTHING! Remember, I give them the choices:) You will not hear many open ended questions around here. They choose what we eat, what we watch, they get to open/close the doors, etc... This is our first full week and the kids LOVE it. They can tell you who is the Triplet of the Day and who is next. This has really helped with the "I want to do it!" syndrome. Now we just say "you can when you are Triplet of the Day."

We explain to their teachers that they take turns very well but sharing... well... not all the time. See, turns means you get it back. Sharing means you give it away. Funny how even at this young age the words you choose mean so much.

More pics from our day out with Mimi and Granddaddy.

A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past, he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future.
Sidney J. Harris


Thursday, June 11, 2009

GREAT GIFT for Father's Day....

If you have a Dad that needs a diaper back/cool back pack now is the time to buy. I really do not like promoting websites/retailers but right now Ebags has a deal with PayPal where you get 25% off one item through 6/21. That brings the Lowe Alpine Active 28 bag down to about $83. I know that sounds expensive but it is hands down the best back pack/diaper bag I have used. I went through quite a few:)

Here is what I carry in my Lowe Alpine Active 28 on a regular basis:
  • 700ml bottle of water
  • extra change of clothes (for each child)
  • 2 packs of crackers
  • 1 pack of pop-tarts
  • 3 packs of fruit snacks
  • three sandwich bags of goldfish or other snack
  • six diapers
  • travel size box of wipes in gallon zip lock (prevents them from drying out)
  • six zip lock sandwich bags (for poopie diapers)
  • Desitin
  • hand sanitizer
  • Children's Tylenol
  • Cortisone cream
  • 2 pens - ball point and a Sharpie
  • 3 small packs of crayons
  • changing pad
  • small first aid kit
  • Bactine spray
  • 3 sippy cups of water in the mesh side pockets
and I still have room for our camera bag if it starts raining! (the back pack has it's own rain cover in a pocket on the bottom of the bag. It has REALLY come in handy!)

We went to one of the local Farmers' Market over the weekend and the kids got to sit in a Fire Truck again. Jackson seems to be going through a shy stage:)

A man travels the world in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.
George Moore


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I survived day one of VBS!

I must have been having a weak moment when they asked me:) I am doing the games for the preschoolers this week at VBS (vacation bible school). I wrote it out because I either deleted that out of my memory banks or we never had VBS at my Church growing up. After meeting the CFO I would hear people talk about VBS. I just went along like I knew what they were talking about until I finally asked the CFO. She chuckled like any good Wife would and then told me what it stood for.

Vacation, Bible AND School in the title and kids are excited about it? Who knew:) They even have fun there! The Triplets are still a bit too young to participate but they had a great time with their nursery teachers. I am learning a lot as I see about 40 preschoolers each day AND have 3-4 preteens helping me with the games. That way I get a sneak preview on two ages:)

The in-laws visited this past weekend and we all went out to the local gardens. But of course the Triplets liked the fountains best of all! :)

Unemployment is capitalism's way of getting you to plant a garden.
Orson Scott Card