The Difference Between a House and a Home

The next couple of posts will revolve around a little time away from our house as a family.  We were able to take the girls out of the small town we live in to Chicago.  Oh the things you can learn when you travel with anyone, much less when you travel with family.

We are also trying to sell our current house.  To prepare our 3-year-old for an impending move I’ve talked with her about the difference between a house and a home.  I never realized how the talk about the difference changed her thought process in such a beautiful way.  The concept is as simple as I could put it.  Any building you can live in is a “house”, but a home is where we all are (mom, dad, and the girls).  I was using the description to show how wherever we live is our home as long as we are together.  My hope was this would make a new house transition a little easier.

When we arrived in the Chicago area the first step was getting everyone into our hotel room.  Then, my little quirk, I walked out and filled the ice bucket.  I did that alone.  When I came back to the room our 3-year-old said rather loud, “WELCOME HOME!!!”  It felt like I was away for hours and not the couple of minutes it took to fill an ice bucket.

My wife, unknowingly, corrected her, “We’re in a hotel room, not home.”  Our 3-year-old wasn’t phased.  (Which was a surprise too.)  Instead she waited until she could catch me all alone and whispered, as if we were sharing a secret, “Mom doesn’t know?  You need to tell her when we are all together we are home.”

Cute on it’s own, right?  But then she took it the next step.  You see we stayed at the same hotel I stayed at on and off for over a year working on a project.  She knew this was the hotel I stayed at because we made a big deal about staying where daddy stays when he goes to Chicago.  That was when she said something I never expected.

“You stay here a lot.  But it wasn’t OUR home until we came here with you.”  Then I got a huge hug.

I guess she hugged too tight.  Because she caused a few tears to sneak out of my eyes.

She really got the message.  I don’t think I did until that moment.


The First Sign of Sisterly Love/Respect?

As a somewhat new dad to two little girls, the oldest is 3 years old and the youngest is 10 months, I’ve been waiting for those times where I start to see “sisterly love” and trust between the two of them.  I’m not looking for the little extra smile that our youngest shows when her older sister comes in the room.  That has been there for sometime.  I’ve been looking for a larger gesture or reaction.  A sign of trust.

(A side note. I think every guy goes through adjustments as children enter his life.  Our home used to be quiet.  Sure you may hear the radio or TV on, but there was a lot of time where one could get lost in thought or enjoy the silence.  Well, those days left almost 3 years ago.  And with two, those days have certainly moved further away.  That’s not a complaint.  It is simply an adjustment.)

So that gesture I’ve been looking for came in a very, well, how do I say it, a “daddylike” way?  (At least “daddylike” from my childhood).

It was bedtime.  The older sister went to bed pretty well.  The 10 month old just wasn’t ready to sleep.  As parents we tried nearly everything in our arsenal of tricks to get her to sleep.  She just wasn’t liking any of the attempts.  At a certain point, you just have to try the self-sooth-cry-herself-to-sleep.  My wife put her in the crib.

Well, the girls share a room.  A sleeping 3 year old is something to be cherished and witnessed.  Hearing her wake up is not what you want.  But sometimes you just have to let the baby cry and risk the 3 year old waking up.

The 10 month old went from a whimper, to a whine, to an irritated cry, to ticked off and getting louder with each step.

(Another side-note.  Just a few weeks earlier I was mentioning to the 3 year old that an awesome part of being the big sister is if you hear your little sister crying at night you could quietly whisper a comforting, “It’s OK baby, I’m here” and maybe your sister would calm down knowing she was safe in the room with her big sister.  Ahhhh, a father can dream right?)

The ticked off cry became more of an angry yell/cry when another voice came from the bedroom yelling, “Quiet baby.  Baby.”  (then a louder)  “BABY!  SHUT UP!”  That’s right.  It was the 3 year old.

But….that yell was followed by….silence.  And everyone went to sleep. 

Well, everyone except my wife and I sitting in the living room stifling our giggles of amazement. 

The big sister helped quiet down the little sister.  Not quite the quiet comforting whisper I was hoping to hear.  Yet it worked.

Who knew that my first sign of sisterly love/respect would be one yelling at the other.  For the record, they really love each other.  And they are LOUD.  I have been told, but haven’t heard yet, the “Frozen” “Let it Go” duet where the 3 year old sings loud and the 10 month old yells trying to sing too.  But sounds more like she is just yelling at the top of her lungs.  Like my first side note says, those days of a quiet house have gone away.  I couldn’t be happier.

Five Minute Friday–Connect

It is another Five Minute Friday at The Gypsy Mama. Today’s topic is “Connect”.

Once again, so you can get the gist of what I am about to write, just a quick summary of the rules:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

So here we go….Five Minute Friday….”Connect”.


You’ll have to forgive me, but this is a rather selfish 5 minutes. I am using it as a time to connect to someone I have felt disconnected to for awhile…me. This week has been a hectic one. I have travelled a large amount of miles by car and completed a boatload of work in the early part of the week. Then it was meeting-after-meeting-after-meeting-after being up early to work. (Not at all a complaint, just a fact.)

Today, I have taken the workday off. To spend time with my little one. Who is finally napping after an active morning. By active, I do not mean merely running around, but showing that she now knows that when she has lost the attention of those around her, by letting out this very loud and clearly Daddy-esque yell. (It is incredibly annoying. But I am the man that helped make her who she is and I am slightly proud to see her ability to show her dissatisfaction in such a clear way.)

So now, I write. For five minutes straight. The house windows are open. There is a great breeze coming through. I am sneaking in a small salad for lunch and enjoying the peace and quiet with only my typing and the breeze able to be heard.

All the hectic parts of life are in the background. While I connect with myself in this relaxing moment.

Uh…..moments over. I can hear her calling. Well, the five minutes is up. The silence is over. But the breeze is still in the house.

Life is good.

Is it strange that five minutes is all I needed to recharge?


Five Minute Friday — Here

It is another Five Minute Friday at The Gypsy Mama. Today’s topic is “Here”. Now, just a quick summary of the rules:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

I really enjoy doing this exercise. And there is a reason you haven’t heard from me in a few weeks. This may clear it up a little. So here we go….Five Minute Friday….


I am sure there is some notes philosopher that has spoken this, but I know it from a Clint Black song. The line goes like this, “Wherever you go. There you are.”

I have always loved that line. Because it is so true in a literal way. But recently I had a few “near misses” with some health issues. And where I was…was in a quiet place. This all ends in good news now. But the waiting game of over two months was somewhat difficult for a worry wort like me.

So wherever I went….was a somewhat spooky place. And there I was.

I know I will be including some of this journey in the coming weeks. But the bottom line for me is that if you can’t laugh at life, something is wrong. When you are having medical tests and you are the only one laughing in the room…it doesn’t help. (Explanations in the coming weeks for certain on this one.)

Finally, if I ever wondered what Simpsons character I was most like, I now know. I would have guessed Homer. I would long to be most like Bart. Some would probably say Flanders. But ther truth is…I am like Dr. Hibbard. In the face of seriousness, I actually laugh. Ok, more like giggle.

Here is where I am. A man who looks life in the face….and giggles when it is uncomfy. I’m not 100% proud. But it is where I am.


Never Thought I Would Say Or Think THAT!

We all have those lines. Those never-say-never-type lines in our lives. I’m pretty sure 5 year old young Marty said, “I’ll NEVER be around girls. They are gross.” Yet, we all change and go back on those little declarations.

I know 15 1/2 year old Marty once thought, “Downtown Appleton is HUGE! I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to drive in that big city.” This is typed by a guy who has now driven in many major metropolitan areas. Most of them (Chicago, Manhattan, Minneapolis, St. Paul, and others) during rush hour and more than once.

I even recall “single Marty” thinking, “I’ll never amount to anything in life.” Now “married Marty” has a wife and child and feels like “single Marty” was just too impatient.

Things change. People change. We all have those statements we have made that reverse over time. But do you have those lines you just never expected to think, much less actually speak? Over the course of the last year, I feel as though I have thought or uttered more of those type of lines than ever before in my life.

This past Thursday was the 1 year birthday of my little girl. I knew having a child would cause me to contemplate or verbalize lines I never considered before. Lines like:

+”Stop licking the wall? Don’t the bumps on the wall hurt your tongue?” Which, I am ashamed to admit was followed by my considering a taste to make sure it did indeed hurt. I mean, what if it tickled and I never knew?

+”Just blow the bath bubbles. Stop trying to eat them.” Again, I considered a taste. But couldn’t get myself to actually do it.

+”Stop licking Pooh.” (The stuffed animal….not the…nevermind.) Maybe I should just feed her a more healthy diet and she’ll stop trying to eat everything in site?

+(I think I am quoting the next one verbatim.) “Stop, stop, stop. STOP! STOP! C’Mon? NO….Don’t do THAT now. I didn’t know that was even possible! Crap. Crap. CRAP!!” This quote happened at about 7 1/4 months on what started out as routine diaper change. I checked the diaper and wasn’t 100% sure it was even wet. Then all THREE ends let loose at once. The clean up was almost of a hazmat quality. And it was just Maggie and I. No “support team” of Mumma around. At the time I suspected I may have moved on to a new class. Daddy Clean Up 301. Alas, it was just another learning moment. By the way, she laughed the entire time. Me? Not so much.

They weren’t all eating or “mess” related. Just this past week I was out looking for a little birthday gift. I found out she is starting to work with blocks. So I thought I would get some of those oversize faux Legos for little kids. When I saw two different bags. I knew both were the same size and were precisely what I was looking for. That was when I had one of those thoughts I never thought would ever cross my mind, “Oh, now those pink one’s are much cuter than the standard colors.” Normally that thought would have caused me to turn in my own Guy Card. But this time I knew it was ok to say it.

I know I am going to post more of these lines in a future post. But what lines have you said that you NEVER thought would come to mind, much less cross your lips?