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Another Year, Another Birthday …

She loved ‘em.  Especially in our 20′s.  The last one together she just turned 30 (pregnant with C)

Today she turned 36.

I love our friends and our friends loved her.

Today we started out with Breakfast with Santa

Then some friends came over… Jim, Keely, Susie, Gary and all the kids

And others sent messages …

Megan … “Happy Birthday to Cari. Miss her so much. I am thinking of u all today and big hugs”

Amanda … “Thinking of you and my friend Cari today. Missing her very much. Give those kiddos a big hug for us. Hope all is well!”

Jen … “We are thinking of you today, like most days, but particularly today. I love how much Cari loved her birthday … Always up for celebrations to punctuate life :)

Mark … Mom … GC … Maggie … Yolanda … Christine …

It’s much harder to read those things a second time and then type them out.

I always tell E it’s okay to have a good cry

Maybe I needed one too …

Missing you always. Happy Birthday ;)

One of the many things to worry about

The list seems endless

As a parent you know your children

You know what they like to eat

You know the places they are most ticklish

You know all their ins & outs

Perhaps that changes as they grow older, but that’s how things are now ;)

He’s been coughing for about a week now.

Coughs, ugh, they seem to last for weeks …

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve had to argue against giving them cough medicine.  Countless times …

Do you want to know how many times I’ve given them cough medicine?  0 … that’s ZERO.

He’s 5, she’s 7 … they’ve coughed a bunch and I’ve never given them cough medicine.

And guess what, they’re fine

I’m saying this not because I’m firmly against any type of cough medicine

I’m saying this because I know what works when they have coughs and it simply does not involve cough medicine

And what I do with them works.  Tonight’s a perfect example … no cough medicine and he’s sleeping fine.  I think their coughs are harder on the ones that have to listen to the coughs, not the ones that are actually doing the cough … maybe???

Anyways, so back to the point of this post …

I really truly believe that I know these kids

And what troubles me is will someone else, should something ever happen to me, also “know” these kids

Will they do what I did tonight?

Or will they choose to do what they “think” is right for the kids?

Will they give them cough medicine?

Or will they

- Put them in a warm steamy shower
- Get them into bed early
- Cover their chest and feet with vicks
- Turn on a humidifier and keep the door nearly closed
- Sleep with them all night

Well maybe they’ll do some of those, I surely hope so…

But who is that person, who’s that person who will do all these things, who’s that person who will come to know all the in’s and out’s of these two amazing children

I know maybe I shouldn’t worry about this stuff but I do

Who know’s all the foods that my picky little eater will eat?

Who will introduce as many new foods to her as possible and continue to introduce new foods even though she might turn down 99% of them?

Who will not get upset when that happens and will keep doing it because he / she loves her so much?

And who will get excited when that 1 time she actually eats it and loves it (like mini-beef taco’s from trader joe’s … a recent win!)

I don’t know …

I just look at tonight and worry

He’s not feeling well, but I’m here and I’m caring for him and couldn’t imagine doing anything else

Who would ever do all this the same exact way I’m doing things, or do things even better than me?

I guess I don’t know who that person is and that’s why I worry

I know though that if anything ever were to happen that they’d be in the hands of people who love them, that’s a guarantee

I don’t, however, know that they will be raised the same way.  I pretty much doubt it.  I imagine any parent might feel that way.

… that no one could ever raise their children like they do …

And then onto a related topic …

Today was Ellis Island day at her school.  I signed up to be an inspector.  I’m pretty sure every parent was at the event, but only a handful volunteered.

She was really excited to have me there.  It was a lot of fun!

I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to do things like this

I wonder if things would be different.  Would Cari do things like this?  Would I still be involved?

Hmm … I guess we’ll never know … will we?? :( ((

I know I’m not perfect.  I would never say I am.  I do things that I regret but I always try to better myself.

When something doesn’t work … oops, let’s not do that again

I don’t like yelling and try not to but it happens because they often times don’t want to listen

But then I say to myself well that didn’t work … ugh

But it’s not always easy to find those things that do work

Kids are tough!  Life is tough!

I don’t think I’ll ever be confident that there’s another person out there that would raise the kids the way I would raise them

But fortunately I have a couple amazing children and I know that they will always be okay ;) and that’s comforting …

With One More Day

What would you do with or give for just one more day?

I don’t want to know when that day is.

I hope it’s forever from now.

He will say from time to time, Daddy I’m glad you didn’t die, Daddy I don’t want you to die.

Heartbreaking…

I’m not going to, I say in response.

But we do talk about death.  Unfortunately.  And probably a whole lot more than I would if the situation were different.

I do try to do as much as I can with these kiddos.

I don’t go about thinking that today might be the last or treating each day like it could be.

It’s just today or tomorrow or the next.

Smile and Laugh!!!

And avoid sweating the small stuff.

We had fun this past weekend, doing more than I probably normally would – especially on my own.

Friday they had an early dinner.  I didn’t so I took them to red mango (yum!).  That was my dinner ;)

She asks if we can sit in the bar stools along the window so we do.

Across the street is the local movie theater so I check the schedule and there’s How to Train a Dragon 2 starting in under an hour.

So we stretch out our time @ red mango, head to the theater get popcorn (she loves popcorn), some waters and sour patch kids (I probably ate half of them)

Then on Sunday I took them to Disney on Ice last minute (after an adult night in the city – so tired).  Without tickets.  We just went and bought some there.

They both dressed up in costumes.  He was Buzz Light-year, she was Monster High – Fun!

It was a really good weekend.

We do have our ups and downs, however.

Like today, they both had play dates after school.

When her friend left and she wanted to go find some more people to play with (it’s almost 7pm btw), I said no.

She wasn’t too happy with me.  She was tired.  Over stimulated.  And definitely didn’t want to hear me say no.

But we got past it.  She smiled again.

It’s just parenting, just life …

So I don’t really think of it as having just one more day.

There are a lot of little things, significant things that matter.

But there are also a lot of little things that aren’t so significant and don’t really matter.

I try to instill this in them.

If they lose a plastic toy that has no sentimental value, we talk about how those things aren’t important.

We talk about how things we say and do impact other people.

We always talk about how our buckets are full or empty.  I like the concept.

She empties my bucket, I empty hers, she fills his and I fill hers …

We empty and fill our buckets all through the day.

It’s not fun when our buckets are empty and it’s hard work to keep them full but we try our hardest to keep refilling them.

Single parenting is tough.  Parenting on it’s own is tough, even when you have a team.

I meet moms all the time that struggle in ways similar to me.  We’re not all that different.  Parenting is just TOUGH.

Ask C’s friends mom whose son, when dropping off C tonight threw a HUGE fit.  HUGE!  That isn’t easy.  She apologized but that’s not even needed.

What do you do in those situations?  We’ve had our own, everyone does.

Anyways …

This past Saturday I went out.  Overall it was SO much fun.  The majority of the people who went out would agree.

However I think I put together a group that wasn’t totally meant to play well together.  I hope there’s no hard feelings … it’s not me but I think a couple of the couples butted heads – just different people, that’s all.  My mike & joe friends and my non-mike & joe friends were definitely different crowds but that’s what works for me.  And these couples are kind of the same.  Maybe I just shouldn’t have put them in the “same room” with a lot of alcohol … oops.  They don’t need to be friends though as long as they both stay friends with me ;)

I, Me … I just want people to laugh, enjoy life, have a great time, smile and be happy.

Unfortunately life doesn’t always play out that way.

But then I think of the small things…

I think of what if that was my last day…

Would I have been satisfied with what I’ve done to this point forward?

I don’t just want one more day.  I want many more days.

Give me my 80th birthday.  I’ll take that.

Can I have that?

I’m optimistically pessimistic!

Can I say that?

I don’t want to be pessimistic.

I want to see them graduate. Get married.  Have children, my grand children.  I want to see them grow and be happy.

Then I can go.  I’ll take 80+ too.  But at 80 I’ll have lived.  I’ll have experienced.  I’ll have enjoyed.

I don’t just want one more day.

I’m just trying to live each day.  Just live it.  Not like it’s the last or almost the last.

Just that it’s our life and you just never know so just smile and live and laugh a LOT!

Miss you …

A New School Year

I’m at drop-off and I met another dad the other day.

Please don’t ask me what my wife does.  Ugh!  Sometimes I just want to wear an “I’m Widowed” t-shirt.

And then as we introduce ourselves at my daughters curriculum night, one after one the wife or husband says Hi, I’m so-and-so, and this is my husband or wife-blah, blah, blah.  I really just wanted to say, Hi, I’m Matt and I’m a Widower.  I might let out a quiet, hmph.  The rest of the room would be “dead” silent.

But at least they’d know and wouldn’t ask “the” question.

So I keep talking to that guy and just hoping he doesn’t ask … he didn’t … phew

That day was an extra long drop-off because some bus driver lady (in an empty bus thankfully) decided to hit one car and then when moving again hit another other.  In doing so she blocked the bus my son was on and we had to wait an extra 20-some minutes before they could leave.

That dad and I kept talking for a while … one of these days i’m going to get better at remembering peoples names but I’m bad at it and I forgot his 5 seconds into the conversation.

There’s probably 60+ kids on this bus so there’s plenty more people to meet …

Then another night at a friends adult-only party (it’s nice to get out without the kids at times) I had a long conversation about Cari with one of the moms

She was super nice.  Not the in-the-face-full-of-questions type conversation some people seem to confront me with.

She didn’t know Cari but we talked a lot about her.  It was a nice conversation to have.  She applauded my efforts, like most people do, but man I’m just trying to do the right thing … and it’s not always easy.

Cari would have loved the party … it’s SO her … she would have been the party … fun, laughing, loud, joking … loving it !!!

The new year brings all this stuff up again.  New families, new kids … questions & answers.

You’d think I’d get numb to it but nope … just as hard 5+ years in.

I went on a jog after drop-off one morning.  Normally I leave it for the evenings but I was somewhat motivated.

While I’m running I’m wondering to myself what it would be like if I ever did remarry.  How I would respond to those questions.

Honestly, I don’t know how I would feel or if that would ever happen.

However, I”m optimistic that it will.  We’ll see ;)

Summer of Twenty 14 – Part 1

August 3rd and the summer is nearly over.

2 days in the 90′s so far, lots of days in the 80′s (lows in the high 50′s) days of fog and lots of rain

The garden is growing. Lots of zucchini, some cucumbers, green tomatoes (hopefully they’ll turn red soon), and some green onions.

The pea pods were a failure.  I planted them too close to each other and they grabbed onto each other and pulled each other back to the ground.

I might try a second planting.  Maybe

This week we head to MI with some friends.  Can’t wait!  It should be so much fun.  The kids are super excited.

We met a new family this week.  Did I say I love this neighborhood?  Sure there are some things I could go without (mainly drama between moms who want to be at the top of the perceived social circles – LAME).  But otherwise this place is great.  This family has a bunch of kids, some of them right around the ages of mine and the kids already get along so well.  That’s SO awesome!

We’ve got two loose teeth right now.  One went from just a little wiggly last night to i’m-probably-going-to-fall-out-now-and-the-tooth-fairy-better-be-ready status!  Hopefully the tooth fairy isn’t too busy and is ready to go!

This past Friday we had a very last minute random get-together with some friends.  There’s a festival this weekend just a couple blocks from the house and the band hairbangers ball was playing.  So much fun!

So I msg’d just about everyone I knew (hopefully I didn’t miss anyone) and about 30 adults and kids came over.  It was a lot of fun!  As usual with my get-togethers there was a chance of rain.  And not just rain this past Friday.  Torrential sporadic downpours lasting just a few minutes but dumping inches of rain.  It happened throughout the day but fortunately stayed away for the evening.  I was prepared though.  I set up a tent and plus we have the porch and the house so we were all good.

The kids could have just run up and down the block all day long but eventually we made it over to the fest.  They were in and out of the house.  In the backyard.  All over up and down the street!  But eventually we went to the fest and it was fun too.  GS was there with Baby J, plus some other family and friends.  E was dead set on going on this boat ride.  Not a kiddie ride.  The boat swings half way up one side and then swings to the other.  Somehow I was talked into the ride with our friends kids.  Yikes!  I asked E if she would go on again and her response was far from an immediate yet.  We stayed til the end of the fest, closed it down just like Mommy did so many nights in the city ;)  C slept until nearly 10:30 the next morning (it’s 8:50 sunday morning and the kids are still asleep, btw)

This summer the kids went to zoo camp at brookfield.  It seemed like they had fun.  They were able to go behind the scenes for things like the dolphin exhibit.  I’m not sure they’ll do it again but it was a good experience.  Then E went to a week (well just 3 days) at Park JrHS.  The class was about american girl doll; learning about their stories.  She wasn’t feeling well on day 4 so we skipped that class

Otherwise the summer has been relatively low key and has flown by.

I’d live to live somewhere warm, somewhere that’s not freezing half the year.  Maybe we’re just jaded after this past winter.  Maybe this next one will be okay.

The weather lately is crazy though.  We’re having an unusually wet summer.  Other areas of the country are in severe droughts.  Who knows what all this means.  I’m just hoping that it doesn’t mean very difficult challenges for the kids and future generations!

A couple weeks ago I took C and one of his friends and his dad to a cubs game.  It was his friends 1st cubs game.  It was such a good night.  Lots of cute pictures and the kids took a bunch of their own selfies.  We lasted until about the 6th inning / 9p and then headed back.  Their mom watched E … awesome family … again, loving this area!

Just hoping we can get in as much as we can in the next 3 weeks!!!!