Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Blard 2010

From Life of a New Dad to You

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas via my first ever Blog Christmas Card (Blard). And yes Arica and I are at the real live Christmas Story House in Cleveland.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Random Christmas Thoughts

I haven't done a random Tuesday post since December 22, 2009. That is exactly one year from tomorrow. This is Tuesday and this is a random thoughts post so I suppose technically it could be a Random Tuesday. Instead though I am calling it a Christmas random post because it's my blog and I can do what I want. Read on for this version of Random Christmas Thoughts on Tuesday.
  • If you are new around here click over and read the post I wrote about the true Christmas Spirit that our family experienced last year because of a stranger at Wal Mart. I read it again recently and I am still amazed.
  • The top of our Christmas tree was bent when we put it up this year. In all my infinite wisdom I tried to bend the metal post back straight while it was in its place at the top of the tree. This genius move snapped one of the plastic supports that holds the post in place. For a day or two we had a leaning tree. I eventually fixed it by snipping up a clothes hanger and duct taping enough pieces together to wedge them into place and provide the support missing because of the broken plastic rib. They don't teach you that in engineering school.
  • Our Church study group, for lack of a better term, is delivering food to needy families tonight. I am really excited. What better time of year is there to spread the love of Jesus by "Loving your neighbor".
  • Christmas shopping for Braden is fun. Apparently I am just a larger than normal kid with facial hair.
  • I'm ready to see Christmas Story again. This will be my first viewing since actually visiting the house. Don't believe me? Here it is.
  • While visiting the house we got a leg lamp night light and a leg light ornament complete with Fra-GEE-Lay box. And stay tuned for a leg lamp picture of yours truly and my better half in the days to come.
  • Finally it's time for some Christmas music. Last year I shared some Bob and Doug and Cheech and Chong. These are two of my favorite Christmas songs, but they are more reminiscent of a Canadian Christmas and a Christmas spent on hallucinogens than Christmas as I know it. This year I thought a little Charlie Daniels Christmas Time Down South would be more fitting. Warning: May pertain reference to redneck activity.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pregnant with Twins - How Does It Feel?

Anyone out there ever wonder what it feels like to be pregnant with twins? Ladies? Guys? Bueller?

Well I may not be the perfect person to tell you, but I live with someone who is an expert. I see her every day. After observing her for a few weeks I have been able to piece together a few things about the early portion of pregnancy with twins.

If I may use a technical term, the first trimester can be a tough time for a woman. Sidebar: If the term for one third of a mester is trimester, why is half the school year not called a bimester. These are the things that keep me up at night, but I digress. Arica has been extra sick, extra tired, and just plain feeling extra bad.

When she told her doctor that she was feeling a lot more sick this time than she did with Braden, he laughed and said, "There's a reason for that."

It would follow logically that with two babies a woman's body produces twice the hormones. These hormones are the ones that make a woman feel nauseous and get sick. So it's true. With twins you get twice as sick.

Consider this message a public service announcement, and don't ever say that this is not an educational blog. We strive to inform here at Life of a New Dad.

Please say a prayer for Arica too while your at it. We'd love for her to have more energy and feel a bit better while we are celebrating Christmas.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Curing the Christmas Blues

Christmas can be a difficult time. I hear so many people say that they can't wait for Christmas to be over. It is too stressful. It is too much work. It costs too much money.

While I understand that this is the true reality we have here in this country, it still makes me sad. Some of you may call me a sentimental fool or something even worse, but Christmas still gives me a warm feeling in my heart. I can't help but be overwhelmed with joy because of the true nature of the holiday.

I have never used this blog to talk about my faith. But earlier this week I saw a tweet from my Pastor that said the number one time people will talk about faith is during the Christmas season. He followed that by saying we have a great opportunity. I would like to take advantage of that opportunity today. If I am honest I have to say that I have always been uncomfortable sharing this part of my life here. But I know from reading The Bible that being afraid to acknowledge my faith is dangerous business.

Jesus tells us, "Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. " (Mathew 10:32-33)

This combination of things has compelled me to really talk about Christmas as I know it this year. I need to share why Christmas makes me truly happy and excited. How can I not be excited knowing the following truth.

I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord (Luke 2:10-11)

I want to take this opportunity to encourage everyone out there who is feeling down this Christmas to do something about it. I have a three pronged solution. Any one of the three will help lift your spirits. All three should do even better. Don't be down during this wonderful time of year. Take time to reflect on what Christmas means and then share that love with someone else. Without further ado here is my cure for the Christmas blues.
  1. Pick up your bible and read the story of Jesus' birth. It is found in both Mathew Chapter 1 and Luke Chapter 2. If you don't have a bible visit Bible Gateway for an online version. God's word will comfort you while reminding you what this holiday is really about. It will also probably take you back to the happy times of your youth when you heard these words every year as part of some Christmas program. The story hasn't changed. We just neglect it.
  2. Go to church and take in a Christmas service. One of my favorite services of the year has always been on Christmas Eve. That service is always filled with beautiful Christmas songs. Forget about the stresses of the season. Just sing and be happy.
  3. Give. I don't mean give your nephew more toys or give your aunt a fruit cake. Give to the poor. Give to the needy. It's great to drop a few coins in the Salvation Army bucket, but to experience the true joy of giving it is better to get involved in a more personal way. Our church runs an organization in our town called Stomp Out Hunger where we feed local families in need. Our family is participating not only by giving food but by organizing bags and hopefully even delivering food. We all have heard that it is better to give than to receive. Well this year try it out. Be a cheerful giver to those less fortunate.
I am not here to judge how you spend your Christmas. I only want to share the things that make Christmas so special to me in the hope that it will make your holiday a little more enjoyable.

Most of you probably know by now that I am big on prayer. Odds are that if I have ever left a comment on your site then I have said a sincere prayer for you. My prayer right now is for everyone out there to have the best Christmas possible and to share it with all your family and friends. I pray your holiday season is filled with overwhelming love.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Philippians 4:13 and My Life

Now for the post you have all been waiting for. What is it really like for us now that we know we are having twins? I'm glad you asked. Today I offer you some of the top things we are dealing with along with a new motto. After all, if anybody needs a new motto it's me.

Arica, Braden, and I currently live in a 2 bedroom home. That is 0.67 bedrooms per resident, which is a decidedly bad ratio when one is considering expanding their family. Knowing this Arica and I put our house on the market with the optimistic hope that our homes distinct charm and location in one of the cities best neighborhoods would be enough to garner interest even in a terrible economy. Our optimism was rewarded with a harsh slap in the face.

Now that we have found out our family will be growing at twice the expected rate our bedroom per resident ratio is even more troubling. So instead of staying above the fray Arica and I now have to consider jumping into the fight for scraps in this buyers market. We have to fight for buyers with the pit bulls known as repossessed homes. They win out over the people who actually were able to afford their mortgages. Such a wonderful mess we have here.

Basically the choices we have are to severely discount our house in hopes of selling it, build on to our house or somehow transform it, or live in squalor.

In a positive development our Real Estate agent is quitting real estate altogether. Yes, this is a positive development. He has been terrible. I am already excited about the new guy after only talking to him once.

No matter the agent, trying to sell the house leads to the most complicated of financial calculations. I am of course an engineer not an accountant. I do have impressive spread sheet skills, however, that I have been putting to good use trying to figure out where we fit into this whole mess financially.  It goes something like this: My salary minus debt plus anything that is not nailed down and thus available to sell minus diapers for two more kids plus hopefully no more diapers for Braden plus various associated fees that will go away minus increases in insurance and property taxes minus baby gear minus baby food and so on.

Then there is the sleeping situation no matter what house we are in. Braden needs to learn how to sleep in a toddler bed as soon as possible. By doing this Braden will allow us to use his crib for the babies thus avoiding the costly purchase of another crib or two. This money stuff figures into that calculation above some how but my head is still spinning so we'll come back to that. 

The problem with the sleeping thing is that Braden wakes up in the middle of the night and wants to watch cartoons 4 or 5 nights a week. Without a cage keeping him in place there is no way that he will ever go to sleep. He'll be roaming the house all night like a zombie bent on destruction. Yet the situation has to be dealt with soon.

There is also the potty training situation that I have been writing about lately. Getting Braden out of diapers before the babies arrive would be a great help. So we have that going as well.

These are just some highlight points. There are plenty of other areas that need addressing as well. In closing I have to say that I am going to need God on my side for this one. I am so thankful that He has promised to watch after me. I know He will. With that, here is my new motto.

Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

And that includes raising Braden and twins.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Since we are already on the potty training subject I have a story to share.

Braden pretty much only goes to the bathroom when asked. Sometimes he tells us, but not often. And he is  apparently still savoring the taste of victory on that one poop in the toilet. He hasn't done it since, and doesn't really seem interested.

On Sunday my Dad and I were watching football on TV when my Dad noticed Braden lying very still on the floor. This is Braden's pooping position. Normally he goes to a corner as well, but this time he did it right at our feet. Of course he told us he didn't need to go to the bathroom.

By the time I got him there the dirty deed was done. Braden did pee in the toilet so I guess it was a partial victory. We talked again about how he needs to tell me when he needs to poop. We'll keep at it.

Before going to the bathroom I had gathered my supplies. I had a clean pull-up and a box of wipes by my side. After wiping I reached down and picked up the diaper off the floor and began to put it on Braden.

As his leg went through the appropriate leg hole Braden stared screaming TOES! TOES!

It was at about this time that I felt something mushy in my hand. I looked down and noticed that I had grabbed the wrong diaper. I was dressing my son in his old poop filled pull-up.

So there we were. Braden was standing on one foot and shoving his poop smeared toes into my face while I tried to balance him and clean his toes with my one still unsoiled hand. It was a proud parenting moment for me. Life with small children is never dull.

And we're having two more.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Potty Training Race Against Time

One of the many challenges of raising twins will be continuing to raise Braden. We will have to be sure that we make time to spend with him. It seems almost cruel that he will go from the focal point of our world for nearly 3 years to a mere third child all at once.

Arica and I have already talked about how we must make it a priority to continue spending time with Braden. We will have to take special Braden only outings so that he can receive our full attention. I need to start practicing that today on this blog as well.

With all the excitement that has turned our world upside down in the past week I have neglected to share some of Braden's accomplishments. Specifically I haven't told any tales about beginning the potty training adventure.

While Braden is at home with Arica these days we have been keeping him in pull ups. Arica will ask him many times a day if he needs to use the bathroom. He will pee almost every time you take him. That is a good thing. He gets excited about the process. Most of his excitement comes from the awarding of M&Ms, but that is exactly why he gets them.

Braden sometimes will even tell Arica or myself that he needs to use the bathroom. Braden will tell you by saying, "Mama. I pee pee." To me that is a huge deal. The fact that once in a while he knows he needs to go to the bathroom is a big success.

We experienced another success when earlier this week Braden told his Mom, "Mama. I poop." Arica took him to the bathroom and Braden did his business. It was his first poop in the toilet. I didn't expect that for months. We were all VERY excited. Pooping in the toilet is a big step in the right direction.

I am aware that it will be a slow process, but we have extra motivation now. The thought of having 3 kids in diapers at the same time is enough to make any parent potty train with the intensity of an Israeli security force. Two new babies will push the first kid right on out of babyhood, whether we are ready for that or not.
I once said I wanted to replace boxes of diapers with boxes of beer. Well now I just want to replace them with boxes of smaller diapers. Things change.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Top Ten Thoughts On Twins

I promise that I will have a serious take on this matter coming soon. Then in the months to follow I will have every different kind of update and philosophical pondering. Of course those will be blended well with OH %!@# moments. The truth of the matter is that every thought I have is consumed by this situation. But for now I just want to laugh. So here is a light hearted list of the top ten things I thought when informed we were having twins.
  1. I picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue.
  2. Holy #$%!#
  3. Are you drunk lady?
  4. How many is twins?
  5. I wonder if Wal Mart is hiring.
  6. Do they give "father of twins" discounts at the nut house?
  7. This lady is about as funny as George Lopez.
  8. One fish. Two fish. Red fish. Blue fish.
  9. Two more and we've got a basketball team.
  10. Breathe.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Are You Sitting Down?

Friday morning I got the most shocking news of my life. I felt like Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation when he tells Cousin Eddie, "If I woke up tomorrow morning with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am now."

You see this news has changed my entire outlook on life. All of my expectations and plans have changed. These plans haven't been rendered useless, but they do need tweaking. Before today I was confident that I had a good grasp on how our lives would unfold. Just when you start thinking that, God steps in and says not so fast my friend.

I was waiting for the right time to share some news with all of you. Well the time is now. Arica is pregnant. We have known for a little while, but tried to keep it secret. We finally gave up on that and told our families last week. Now I am sharing it with you so I can tell this story.

Today I went with Arica for her first OB visit. We went a week earlier than scheduled because Arica was having some pains that we wanted to have checked out. After listening to the doctor I was a bit concerned. He thought everything was OK, but it was clear from his mannerisms that he wasn't completely sure. He requested that Arica get an ultrasound to make sure everything looked good.

As we went across the hall with the tiny little ultrasound lady, my heart was in my throat. Butterflies were flying around in my stomach. What if something was wrong?

The ultrasound lady played a little picture pages and then had an opening question. From those words I could tell that she had some news to share with us. We knew Arica was pregnant already so I didn't really expect good news. I certainly didn't expect in my wildest dreams what was coming next.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Stitch Me Up Scotty

Today Braden goes to have his stitches removed. What? You didn't know he had stitches?

That's life at our house. Things happen so fast that I can't get them recorded. Without being recorded precious moments like baby's first stitches could be forgotten. Recording them here ensures the memory will last at least until computers rise up and take over the world.

So as I make this digital journal entry about Braden's accident I am reminded to be thankful for this blog.  Without it I certainly wouldn't be able to remember every exciting detail of these early years.

So back to my story. Braden took a flying leap last Wednesday November 30, 2010. He didn't reach his intended target and fell backwards smashing his head into the corner of a door. Screaming and blood flowed from the poor little man or so I heard. All this ended with 4 stitches.

I've tried unsuccessfully in recent days to put into words what life with this little dude is like. Remember Avatar?

I tease his Mom that she is going to be a nervous wreck for the next 20 years. I still believe that. I just didn't know it was going to start so soon.