Do You Want To Build A Snowman?

Ok, it took three winters. But the 3-year old and I were outside and the snow was perfect. The entire time I shoveled the driveway and front walk I listened to this, “Dad, how do you like Elsa’s Castle?”

She built three of them while we were outside.

My back was starting to ache from shoveling so much. Then I realized that the sun was heating some of the snow in the front yard to a perfect temp for sticky snowballs.

My first thought was to ball up some of this snow and launch one at my daughter to start a snowball fight. I balled up some snow. But seconds before the launch, I decided to roll it towards her. Without pushing too hard, the ball grew perfectly. I realized the snow was perfect. The sun was shining. The time was now to softly walk up to my 3-year old and say those magical words, “Do you want to build a snowman.”

Well, the whole neighborhood heard her response.

Since neither of us is an architect. We made the ugliest, goofiest snowman ever. In fact after putting sticks in the snowman for eyes, arms, legs, and yes, hair (Thanks Olaf) we have constructed a snowman only Stephen King could be proud of.

Well, he may be proud but so are the two of us. Although, from what I was told before naptime, there are a few more coming. Because, to use her words, “I think we can do better when we make the Mommy and baby snowmen too.”

With all due respect to Disney and poetry writers around the globe I present to you a small poem that can be read to parts of the song, “Do You Want To Build a Snowman”. The parts in brackets were spoken by me during the build. The bracketed words were spoken by our 3-year old.

Do you want to build a snowman? (Yeah!)
It shouldn’t take much time at all.
We’ll roll some snow to make some balls,
Stack them up, and hope that they don’t fall.

Come help me push this snowball,
I’m asking why won’t you, whyyyyyyyy? (Sigh, ok).
Do you want to build a snowman?
(Yes, I want to build a snowman.
Ok, fine).

Now let’s make some arms.
Using branches from a tree.
Wait! You can’t put a hole right there.
(Why not? How else can he pee?)

More branches for his legs,
He looks good and we didn’t fail.
Why are you putting a stick back there?
(Dad, he needs a tail).

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A Ten Month Old Can Save Your Heart

When I restarted this blog I made a commitment to continue to keep sharing little parts of our lives. I’ve found tons of stories because, being a Catholic dad of two girls is quite a ride. So stick with me because there is a lot more to come. Yet this post starts off with why I’ve been a little quiet. We had a rough patch as a family.

Life isn’t always sunshine and roses. As every person in every walk of life knows, you have those rough spots on the journey. When you travel as much as I do it can create some very rough times alone. For our family August was a tough month. For me personally, it was even a touch tougher. (Don’t worry, this blog will pick up shortly.)

Near the top of that list the list that complied a rough August was fearing that although our 10 month old was always smiling when I was around, she wouldn’t cuddle and sleep in my arms. Ever, at all! I was beginning to develop a complex especially when I’m using the “late night mind” that you can get when sleep eludes you at night. I figured she was keeping her distance from me. I have to think that every father has thoughts like this.

Well, my wife got sick. Well, we all did. A cold shot through our home. It started with the 10 month old and did a full lap in our home. So the 10 month old was doing better when my wife was at her worst. She was so sick she couldn’t feed the 10 month old. That duty fell to me. Something I haven’t done much of in her life because my wife and I have avoided using formula. (Quick side note. I can’t put into words how much I’ve admired my wife carrying this work upon her shoulders for nearly 10 months.)

I have to admit, I was terrified. Only because I wasn’t sure if that little 10 month old would let me. She really fought most people that have tried to feed her. I watched several people actually give up trying to feed her with a bottle.

To this point I could carry our 10 month old…as long as I wasn’t sitting down. Standing/walking/dancing with her wasn’t a problem. Sit down and you can forget it. She would sprawl and try to stand up. She would fuss and start to cry. The only time she would settle in my arms is if she was really, really tired and would fall asleep. And only then would she relax. (Again, it gives a guy a complex.)

Allow me to set the stage. A Saturday afternoon and it’s nap time. My wife is sick and needs to sleep. Our 3 year old was getting ready for her afternoon nap. The 10 month old, she is hungry. Now a nervous daddy, adjusting to a sad event that happened to all of us (I’m sure I’ll post about that event in the future) and now it was time to step up to the plate and take care of our hungry 10 month old.

Make the bottle and warm it. I grab that beautiful bundle of hungry screaming unhappy baby and lean her back in my arms like I did hundreds of times before when our 3 year old was younger and tried to feed her. I didn’t sit down. I was going to walk with her. She had no interest. And I knew that for certain she had no interest in the bottle. Well, I knew she wasn’t happy and so did most of the neighborhood even though the windows were closed. Not only was she unhappy, she would stiffen up and make it tough to hold her. Sort of looking like a younger version of herself.

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I didn’t want anyone in the house to wake up and have their nap disturbed. So we went outside. I opened the garage door grabbed a lawn chair and sat in the garage. I like to call that “redneck style” just sitting in the garage and watching the cars. I sat her on my lap.

She not only sat down on my lap. She stopped crying. She smiled! We had a nice daddy/daughter moment! I tried the next logical step.

I grabbed the bottle and as she sat up on my lap and watched the cars roll by she ate. Then SHE grabbed the bottle and stopped eating but only because she was smiling.

Personally I was in a rough spot and that moment was where that rough spot ended. I couldn’t have been more excited.

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All it took was a 10 month old chomping on a bottle and smiling at me to turn my heart around.

I do want to end this post with a question and a comment to you. It feels weird always calling my daughters by their age (the 10 month old or the 3 year old) I’m going to start using names. But not their names. I want to ask you if you have any suggestions for names based upon what you have taken the time to read?

And the comment. Actually, feel free to comment on the page at any time. I welcome your thoughts and input on this blog. What would keep you coming back? Anything in particular? Share away!

The Humility of Fatherhood

First off a belated Father’s Day to all dad’s and grandfathers. Not just biological, but adoptive, uncles, godfathers, brothers that may have influenced you (in a good way), and all other forms of fatherhood that are possible.

For me, Father’s Day is taking on a newer meaning. One of humility. With a three year old and 8-month old, I still feel like a new daddy. (Mostly because I’m making it up as I go along. I’ve now learned that is a typical trait of most dads. So I know I’m not alone.)

In future posts I will detail more of my full Father’s Day. Just to wet the appitite, I bring you a simple exchange between the 3 year old and myself. This was how the day started. It was early and we were going out for a drive. So there we were, just the two of us. Just after she was buckled into the seat she smiled like she had a secret to share but wouldn’t risk bursting at that moment.

But once I sat down and buckled my seatbelt she blurts out at the top of her lungs, “HAPPY FATHER’S DAY DAD!!! LET’S CELEBRATE!!”

I haven’t fished in a long time. And it always annoys me when people fish for compliments, but I have to admit I was going on a verbal fishing trip with my daughter. I dropped my mythical hook in the water by asking, “What exactly do we celebrate on Father’s Day?”

I was met with the always “satisfying” response, “I dunno? What?”

Sure I was a little dissapointed, but I soldered on ready to set the hook once she answered this question correctly, “Most people celebrate how much they like or love their dad. So, do you like or love your dad?”

Oh I know, I was seriously fishing for a compliment here. But it seemed so easy. Until she responded almost as quickly as I asked the question, “Well, I dunno. You give me time-outs. And now they are (holding up her fingers to show the correct number) THREE MINUTES LONG!!!”

And another moment showing the “humbling of a dad” was complete. I could only laugh. Although it did get me thinking much of the morning how much I didn’t focus on those moments alone with my dad. How now, I would love to share one more moment alone talking with him. Plus, during times of prayer, how often I let the distractions of the world get in the way of my prayer. Sometimes even when I’m sitting in prayer, I let my thoughts drift away from Him right in front of me.

Always cherish those times alone with your dad. In all forms. Don’t focus on the “time outs” you have been given, rather the true time out with dad.

How Does Faith Play Into The Blog?

With the retool I have to be honest and share some personal hopes for the blog.

First a little background. I am a Catholic. (Don’t click the “back” button yet. Hang on.) I am not afraid to say that. I’m also not afraid to share my faith and thoughts in person. Yet I was afraid to do so online.

Although pride can be a detrimental character trait of people, it can also be a good trait if it isn’t flaunted in a way that gets you in trouble. I pride myself on a few small items. One item rather high on that list is I am blessed to have a lot of friends. And they come from varying types of faith. (Or even many that haven’t any faith.) I don’t expect to make this a full-on-all-out-fight over faith, I began to realize something in the “break” to retool. It is very difficult to talk about the positive in life without addressing some of the negative in the light that I see it in. I enjoy talking and reading how people look at things in life. Especially those that don’t see things they way I may see them.

Seemed sort of selfish to enjoy their opinions and thoughts and not share why I feel or believe what I believe.

Can that be done without trashing others thoughts? Therein lies the trick.

I’m not sure. But I hope to lead some posts from a Christian/Catholic perspective. I won’t shy away from using faith or sharing faith-like thoughts. My hope is that those that have read the blog before won’t run from the blog like my words carry the bubonic plague. I hope that instead they would at least consider that I am not an idiot. Rather the fact I base these thoughts on are not just good feelings, but often true research. Not just “Internet biased” thoughts and articles, but true research combined with what I hope is a well thought out opinion.

Sometimes The Best Way to Face The Day is To Stick Out Your Tongue

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Just a quick post. Margaret had a pretty good afternoon with Daddy.

But last night was bumpy. Learning to walk and run means lots of falls. Even a headbutt to the entertainment center. And, the roughest of all, a fall where she learned that a fall-plus-teeth-plus-lip equals a little blood.

She was fine. But scared. (Although not as much as Sue and I were….silly new parents.)

Today we have all decided to enjoy the day. And stick our tongue out at whatever it throws at us.

JOIN US!! I know you want to.